Police searched for bulletin-board ministers. They have now been escorted to prison

The police could not locate the ex-ministers at first but later declared the search over.

Marian Janušek (l) and Igor Štefanov (r)Marian Janušek (l) and Igor Štefanov (r) (Source: SME)

The police earlier declared a search for former construction ministers, Marian Janušek and Igor Štefanov, four days after the Supreme Court found them guilty.

They attempted to transfer Janušek and Štefanov on November 19, but could not locate them, the Sme daily reported.

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The police then declared a search for Štefanov, which was also confirmed by Veronika Slamková, spokesperson for the Bratislava department. However, they later found him and escorted him to prison.

“The search is over,” the police wrote on Facebook.

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As well as Štefanov, Janušek was also listed among people being sought by the police, even though the Aktuality.sk news website reported that they had detained him at around 16:00. However, the information has not yet been officially confirmed, Sme wrote.

Janušek’s and Štefanov’s lawyers are not aware of any detention. The latter stressed that his client is not on the run, as reported by the daily.

Lawyers ponder special appeal

The Supreme Court sentenced Janušek and Štefanov for 11 and 9 years in prison, respectively, and ordered them to pay a €30,000 fine each. If they fail to pay the sum, their sentence will be prolonged by one more year, Sme wrote.

Read also: Bulletin-board ministers go to prison Read more 

Since the two ministers were not present when the verdict was read, they remained outside of prison. The court issued the order to transfer them to the prison on November 16, as spokesperson Alexandra Važanová confirmed.

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Although the police did not find the ministers at their addresses, it does not automatically mean they are on the run. The police could find them later or they can report their whereabouts on their own, Sme wrote.

Meanwhile, the ministers’ lawyers are considering submitting a special appeal. In this instance, the case would again be judged by the Supreme Court, but by a bigger and different senate, according to the daily.

What is the case about?

The bulletin-board case dates 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.

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 over-priced.

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