The top post at the Public Procurement Office (UVO) was more or less promised to Robert Fico’s opposition party Smer-SD, but Prime Minister Iveta Radicova has blocked the candidate proposed by the party.
Smer-SD proposed the government to appoint Jan Valko as chairman of the procurement authority, but the nomination was rejected at the government session yesterday. Earlier in the week PM Radicova had already expressed her doubts about Valko and had asked Robert Fico to propose at least two candidates so the government could choose, but Fico refused to give her another candidate.
Following in the trend of headless institutions like the Attorney General’s Office, the National Security Bureau (NBU), utilities regulator URSO and others, the procurement authority has been without a top man since April this year, when Roman Sipos handed in his resignation without stating grounds.
The coalition feel that acting chairman Marek Vladar is not the right man for the job due to alleged involvement in dubious tenders at the Ministry of Interior under the previous government, which are still under investigation.
Robert Fico lashed out at the Prime Minister when he received the news, calling her a liar as she had stated several times that the posts earmarked for the opposition would definitely be filled by them, with Smer-SD to nominate the UVO chair.
Fico accused the government of trying to gain control over the procurement authority by appointing its own person to this strategic, some would say ‘lucrative’, post. He then denounced the PM for consistently lying to everyone, touching also on her treatment of trade unionists recently.
Radicova contested Fico’s remarks when she explained that he knew in advance that the government had reservations about Valko’s nomination and that they could not just stick anyone in the job.