Accusations Fly Over Costly Hockey Stadium

The fingers are starting to be pointed over the excessively overpriced reconstruction of the Ondrej Nepela Ice-Hockey Stadium in Bratislava, with the Smer-SD party accusing the Christian democrats of KDH as being responsible.

Ondrej Nepela Stadium during the Ice Hockey World Championships (c) Dan Richardson

An audit by the Supreme Audit Office (NKU) revealed this week that the final bill for the stadium was almost double what is was projected at, costing EUR 96 million in the end. Budgetary organisation General Investor Bratislava (GIB) was responsible for the project, but it is contesting that the final total for the stadium was never mentioned in the city hall resolution, only the amount to be provided by the City of Bratislava.

The audit determined that funds had not been handled economically or efficiently and so the Smer-SD party has issued a statement cited by TASR as saying the KDH party should take political responsibility for the “scandalously overpriced” project. Robert Fico’s Smer-SD party is calling on the interior minister Daniel Lipsic to launch an investigation into the financing of the reconstruction, but Lipsic is also from KDH so there will probably be no joy there.

The project was overseen by Bratislava City Hall, headed at the time by mayor Andrej Durkovsky, formerly of the KDH party. Since being ousted from the post and his party, Durkovsky has been at the centre of a few affairs over questionable contracts, like the sale of the PKO building in Bratislava, which is still being contested through the courts.

The tender for the general contractor is also dubious, as it was tailor-made to companies that could produce at least three thousand tons of their own steel every year, and so only one tenderer took part, the winner, Ingsteel. The GBI insists that this condition was essential for the reconstruction to take place at all.

Current mayor of Bratislava, Milan Vtacnik, says the higher costs were mostly down to Durkovsky building a different stadium from what the City Council had approved. Durkovsky is claiming innocence, though, saying the audit points no blame at him personally and that thanks to Bratislava City Hall the country had avoided another international embarrassment of not being ready for the Ice Hockey World Championships 2012.

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