Bulletin-board ministers go to prison

Former SNS politician Marian Janušek and Igor Štefanov got 11 and 9 years behind bars respectively.

Marian Janušek, with Igor Štefanov in the background. Marian Janušek, with Igor Štefanov in the background. (Source: Sme archive)

For the first time in the history of Slovakia, former ministers will go to prison for corruption.

Former construction ministers, Marian Janušek and Igor Štefanov, will go to prison for the infamous bulletin-board tender from a decade ago.

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Read also: Why did we have to wait ten years for the verdict in the bulletin-board case? Read more 

Janušek is to serve 11 years and Štefanov nine. The Supreme Court ruled on the appeal by the two former ministers, nominees of the now ruling Slovak National Party (SNS), against the sentence they received from the Specialised Criminal Court one year ago. That court also ordered the two men to pay a fine of €30,000 each.

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The Supreme Court lessened the punishment for Janušek by one year but otherwise changed nothing of the verdict of the Specialsied Criminal Court, the Sme daily reported.

The head of the Supreme Court senate that dealt with the case admitted that it was one of the toughest decisions in his career, Sme wrote.

The case goes back to 2007 and is described as one of the biggest scandals of Robert Fico’s first government (2006-2010). It involved the announcement of a €120 million tender for supplying the former Construction Ministry with various legal and advertising services, co-financed by EU funds.

The call for applicants was placed on a bulletin board in a corridor at the ministry, then under the remit of the Slovak National Party (SNS) and nowhere else.

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The tender was won by the only bidder, a consortium of companies including Zamedia and Avocat, both businesses with links to former SNS party leader Ján Slota.

Štefanov served as a senior official at the ministry when the tender was announced and was later appointed minister after Janušek was sacked by then-prime minister Robert Fico.

The contract was terminated in May 2009 after official audits confirmed that the tender was improperly conducted and that the services covered in the contract were overpriced.

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