The first Education Ministry official has lost his job due to the scandal concerning the dubious redistribution of state subsidies to support research and development. Education Minister Martina Lubyová (nominee of the Slovak National Party) has dismissed head of the science and technology department at the ministry, Marek Hajduk, the Sme daily reported.
Problems with the allocation of €33 million from the state budget at the end of last year were revealed by Sme in cooperation with the Stop Corruption Foundation. Some points given in the evaluation of the Navidate projects did not fit. While the first page of its project informed that it achieved 94 out of 100 points, after counting the points for respective criteria on the following pages, the company would score only 84 points, Sme wrote.
Lubyová said that the project’s evaluator has admitted to making a mistake. However, she failed to specify her name.
Criminal complaint submitted
At the same time, she announced a plan to submit a criminal complaint in the matter, to clearly show that the ministry distances itself from the case, but failed to specify the crime that had been committed. She explained the mistake with the failure of those who were to check the project, which is why she recalled Hajduk, responsible for the redistribution of subsidies, Sme wrote.
It also tried to downplay the mistake by saying that even if the project had received only 84 points, it would have received the money. The reason is that there was not more money, but they could still provide €770,000, required by Navidate.
Lubyová submitted the criminal complaint after several media outlets had reported that some parts of the expert opinions are identical. At the time the information was published, she said that somebody from the outside could have worked with them.
The General Prosecutor’s Office meanwhile moved the motion to the Bratislava regional prosecutor’s office, Sme wrote.
Another criminal complaint was submitted by Veronika Remišová, MP for the opposition Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO). She points to potential subvention fraud and the abuse of a public official’s powers.
Lubyová objected to OĽaNO’s accusations, and added that some companies are considering submitting a criminal complaint against Remišová.
Navidate’s project is not the only problematic one. There are also some ambiguities surrounding the project of the Futúrum company, owned by businessman Andrej Babiar. The Gorilla file, allegedly containing the transcripts of the recordings made by the Slovak Information Service (SIS) intelligence agency, describes him as a person representing the interests of the Ukrainian mafia in Slovakia, Sme reported.
Speaker of Parliament and SNS chair, Andrej Danko, who nominated Lubyová for the education minister post, worked with Babiar in the SNS Dynasty, also mentioned in Gorilla. Danko claimed that he has not met Babiar in 15 years.
Futúrum failed to meet formal conditions in the project, but the evaluator revised the original decision with a statement, claiming that he had made a mistake. He allegedly did not notice a signature of the company’s authorised representative in the electronic system, and changed his mind after the ministry informed him that they had the signature, Lubyová explained.
5. Feb 2019 at 13:57 | Compiled by Spectator staff