Following the unexpected and unexplained resignation of the head of the National Security Authority (NBU) Frantisek Blanarik in March, the authority has been headless, awaiting a new candidate from the SaS party.
Now the SaS believes it has come up with the right replacement in the shape of Peter Paluda, who is a known critic of controversial head of the Supreme Court, Stefan Harabin. Paluda was allegedly persecuted by Stefan Harabin for speaking out against him.
SaS party head Richard Sulik expressed his confidence that Paluda is not only the right kind of expert for the job, but also an honest person who enjoys a good reputation. Sulik believes that Paluda will be well-received by the coalition partners and that he is “a sure guarantee” of legitimate security clearances at the authority from now on.
The previous nominee of the SaS, Jan Stano, was not accepted by its coalition partners for being involved with the secret service under Vladimir Meciar’s reign in the 1990s.
Paluda has all the necessary credentials for the job, having worked for years as a security expert, a prosecutor and a Supreme Court judge. He was also Slovakia’s representative in the Eurojust organisation between 2004 and 2007.
Head of the KDH party Jan Figel says Paluda is a good choice, worthy of the four-party coalition’s consideration. Figel complained, though, how the coalition parties had been made aware of the nomination through the media instead of being notified directly, especially as the announcement was made right after a coalition meeting.
Paluda himself has said that if he occupies the post he would be revising some of the security clearances that were issued by the NBU previously, mentioning in particular those suspected of having collaborated with the former communist secret police, the StB.
Paluda looks set to target his adversary Stefan Harabin as well, though, questioning how his security clearance was issued in 2007. Paluda will also examine the clearance of his predecessor, Frantisek Blanarik.
Yesterday interior minister Danial Lipsic, another long-term and ardent opponent of Stefan Harabin, also brought up the issue of Harabin’s security clearance, saying Harabin posed a security risk due to his alleged ties with the underworld. Harabin was said to have had close ties, for instance, with Kosovar drug dealer Baki Sadiki, with recorded telephone calls pointing to a close and friendly relationship between the two men.
Supreme Court chairman Stefan Harabin hit back, saying Lipsic should stop lying in public, while accusing him of having friendly ties with a gangland boss himself. Harabin also attacked justice minister Lucia Zitnanska and police commissioner Jaroslav Spisiak with the same allegations.
The coalition would like to see Stefan Harabin ousted from the position of power he has dug himself into in the justice system, but Harabin is an expert at holding on and making counter-attacks. He recently won a battle against finance minister Ivan Miklos, who was hoping to audit the Supreme Court. Harabin managed to get his way, though, as the Supreme Court, which he controls, ruled in his favour. Surprise, surprise!
The coalition will endorse or reject Paluda’s nomination next week, after which we can expect to see sparks fly.