Acting Police Corps President Milan Lučanský will stay in his post for the next four years. Interior Minister Denisa Saková appointed him to the post on April 15.
“The main reason was the outcome of the vote of the parliamentary defence and security committee last week: seven members voted for Milan Lučanský, with no member voting against his appointment,” explained Saková, as quoted by the Sme daily.
The committee recommended two candidates for the post. Apart from Lučanský, incumbent police attaché in Prague Ivan Sečík was also on the shortlist.
The final decision was made by Saková, Sme wrote.
Promise to improve the image of police
The vote followed new rules for electing the new police corps president for the first time. It took place after thousands of people attending the For a Decent Slovakia protest gatherings called for the replacement of then-police corps president Tibor Gašpar and an open selection procedure.
Lučanský is perceived positively by the public, mostly due to the progress in the investigation of the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová. He has promised that as the new police corps president, he will toughen up individual screenings and will introduce electronic service cards for police officers to control them more efficiently. He has also promised to reorganise police units, particularly the National Criminal Agency (NAKA), Sme wrote.
Furthermore, he plans to improve the image of the police.
“I’ll continue in my work so that the trust in the police will increase,” Lučanský said, as quoted by Sme.
The result was expected
Despite changes in the rules for the selection of the new police head, several experts and non-governmental organisations pointed to the fact that the choice had already been made.
“If we had a guarantee that the next election will be independent, I would propose to cancel the current one and declare a new one,” said Zuzana Petková, head of the Stop Corruption Foundation, as quoted by Sme.
Opposition shared this opinion. Gábor Grendel, MP for the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) movement, did not vote during the hearing of candidates and was critical of Lučanský’s appointment.
“The candidates were first selected by the commission in which a majority of members are the ruling coalition’s nominees,” said Grendel, as quoted by Sme. “They were later selected by the members of the parliamentary committee in which the ruling coalition once again holds a majority. And finally, the minister has been pretending that she has been thinking about the new police corps president for a few days.”
Veronika Remišová of OĽaNO also called the selection procedure a farce.
Saková, on the other hand, was satisfied and said it was meaningful, Sme wrote.
Who is Lučanský?
Lučanský, who replaced Gašpar as a temporary police corps president in late May 2018, has been a member of the police corps since 1990. He served in one of its top posts between 2012 and 2016 as deputy police corps president. Afterwards, he led the police inspectorate running under the Interior Ministry, which deals with suspicions of unlawful conduct of police officers and has faced independence concerns from the previous ombudswoman in the past.
During his early career, Lučanský worked in the field. Saková stressed while presenting him as the acting police corps president in May 2018 that it is thanks to him and his team that big names in organised crime, like the Banská Bystrica underworld boss Mikuláš Černák, are in prison.
Lučanský, however, also faced allegations of links to people from the underworld in the past. He was reported to have met with the late mafia boss Ľudovít Sátor in Hungary. He has been dodging the allegations by saying that the people who accuse him of contacts with criminals have also had links to criminals in the past.
Along with his colleagues, Ivan Šefčík and Jozef Mičieta, Lučanský left the police corps during the 2010-2012 government of Iveta Radičová and rejoined the forces only after the March 2012 elections, which brought Smer back to power. The three men filed a libel lawsuit and a criminal complaint against their former boss, Jaroslav Spišiak, demanding damages of €300,000. They alleged that Spišiak committed libel when he told the media that while they were in their positions in the police’s Office for Fight against Organised Crime, the international fugitive Karol Mello remained at large. Spišiak also reportedly stated that after these three individuals left the police corps, Mello was arrested in Poland. Spišiak faced charges based on their complaint, but the charges were dropped in 2014.
Moreover, MP Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová claimed earlier in 2018 she had proof Lučanský blackmailed entrepreneurs in the Žilina Region and acquired an apartment in Florida in an unlawful way.
The Interior Ministry, then led by Saková’s predecessor Robert Kaliňák (Smer), stood by Lučanský and said he enjoyed their full trust. Lučanský himself told Sme that the two-room apartment in Florida is cheaper than a bed-sit in Bratislava and that he bought it together with two friends and his son.
Saková also stressed that Lučanský’s property has been thoroughly checked. Moreover, he was granted a top-secret level security clearance earlier in 2018.
15. Apr 2019 at 13:32 | Compiled by Spectator staff