Economy minister Juraj Miskov (SaS) has been given the task of replacing the complete management of the National Agency for Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (NADSME), due to suspected widespread cronyism in the use of funds.
The next management board meeting of the agency has been postponed until 4 October, so as to give the minister time to install the changes. On Friday 24 September PM Iveta Radicova gave Miskov a deadline of just seven days to clear the table in NADSME, but Miskov pointed out that this would not be easy as it takes at least seven days just to convene a management meeting and the rules cannot just be broken.
The agency is basically an affiliation of corporate entities, like the Ministry of Economy, the Entrepreneurs Association of Slovakia (ZPS) and the Slovak Tradesmen Union (SZZ), and so their agreement is needed for such comprehensive personnel changes.
State secretary for the Ministry of Economy, Martin Chren (SaS), says the PM’s concern about criminal activities are not related to NADSME itself, but to its subsidiary Fond fondov, which was established in 2006 to help kick-start innovative companies by way of risk capital.
The PM called for the changes after being made aware of two cases of money being siphoned off worth around EUR 4.5 million. Radicova did not fail to mention that the cases occurred under the former government of Robert Fico, and that the matter was now being investigated also by the Anti-corruption Office.
NADSME was also involved in the contract with Hayek Consulting for EUR 8,100, which has questioned the integrity of state secretaries Martin Chren and Ivan Svejna over a conflict of interests, as they were formerly partners in the company before becoming MPs.