Former police president now working as adviser at Interior Ministry

This step by minister Saková has sparked huge controversy but Gašpar himself does not see it as a problem.

Tibor GašparTibor Gašpar (Source: Marek Mrvis, SITA)

Former Police Corps president Tibor Gašpar started working for the Interior Ministry at the beginning of August, the ministry spokesman Petar Lazarov confirmed for the TASR newswire.

"Tibor Gašpar has been employed as an adviser on legislation and socially excluded communities,” Lazarov informed, adding that Gašpar is not a full-time employee of the ministry.

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Following the murders of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his girlfriend, Gašpar’s dismissal was one of the demands made during the spring “For a Decent Slovakia” anti-government protests, TASR wrote on August 17.

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However, he refused to step down. The Interior Minister at the time, Tomáš Drucker (a Smer nominee, who later resigned) did not sack him either, but following Drucker’s resignation, the curren6t Prime Minister, Peter Pellegrini (also of Smer) who was then temporarily tasked with managing the Interior Ministry announced that Gašpar would leave his post in late May.

Gašpar left... and is back again

Subsequently, the new Interior Minister Denisa Saková (Smer, former Interior Ministry State Secretary) announced that Gašpar’s successor would be Milan Lučanský. Saková took over from Robert Kaliňák who also left in the aftermath of Kuciak’s murder.

In an interview for the Pravda daily, the new Gašpar tried to explain that he did not land a “fat office” but, rather, it is common for ex-police presidents to offer their experience. He also stressed for Pravda that his job would centre on legislative changes involving the work of the Police Corps. He is also an adviser to the Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (ČSSD) but on a more occasional, symbolic basis, paid the due sum for the service offered.

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What will the new adviser do?

For the Nový Čas tabloid daily, Gašpar said that he would work to help people who are in contact with marginalised and excluded communities and added that when still holding the office of Police President, he had focused for several months on this issue.

When asked whether he fears that future protests in the autumn could call for his resignation, the ex-police president said that he does not care what the organisers of the protests think.

The adviser also noted that his contract is valid as long as Saková is in office and that it has nothing to do with (ex-minister) Kaliňák. “Kaliňák has nothing to do with it,” Gašpar said in the interview, adding they have never been on very friendly terms and they do not see each other privately.

Gašpar’s salary will be €2,030 per month gross, Nový čas wrote.

The daily also reported that another man laid off due to recent scandals, the ex-head of the Anti-corruption Unit of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA), Robert Krajmer, is also returning to the Interior Ministry: he will join the transport and traffic section. The property of his wife is being checked by the General Prosecutor’s Office due to dubious contacts with controversial business people, according to Nový Čas.

Opposition slams the step

The Opposition, in the words of OĽaNO MP Gábor Grendel, believes that minister Saková scored an own goal when she hired Gašpar, and also when she refused to publish his salary. He added, as quoted by Pravda, that the ruling Smer party always takes care of its top people, even after they leave their positions.

Chairman of the SaS party, Richard Sulík, deems it an “absence of political taste and sense of reality” by a minister “who does not have the trust of the President, the opposition, sections of the public and even some coalition politicians”, Pravda wrote. He summed up that the police president will also in future have to be a person close to the ruling coalition, “as his main task will be to cover up coalition dirt and thefts, especially those of Smer”.

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