Following the recent affair over the rental of a building for the tax office in Kosice from a company with connections to the SDKU party, yesterday afternoon opposition leader Robert Fico warned that if Prime Minister Iveta Radicova did not recall finance minister Ivan Miklos, his Smer-SD party would motion a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister herself.
Fico complained that the Prime Minister’s reaction to the affair was feeble and not meriting the post of Prime Minister, adding that PM Radicova was now in cahoots with the racketeers in her SDKU party. Fico says the PM is trying to cover up the scandal by being deceitful.
Fico pointed out how in the face of the whole country the PM had endorsed the crony deal and that she was well aware of corruption going on in her party.
Fico also wants SDKU’s three coalition partners (SaS, KDH and Most-Hid) to join his effort and demand the recall of finance minister Miklos over the cronyism allegations, but his effort to rally support from the coalition partners looks set to fail.
Yesterday Bela Bugar said that re-launching the tender was a good solution to eliminate the hint of cronyism uncovered by Robert Fico, according to TASR newswire. TASR also got a reaction from head of the SaS party, Richard Sulik, who expressed satisfaction with how the PM had dealt with the situation. As is often the case, the KDH is sitting on the fence for the time being, with party vice-chairman Pavol Hrusovsky saying he would not comment on the affair or the PM’s decision until he had more background information.
Cronyism is a word that is thrown around a lot in Slovakia, and anyone who has lived here for long enough can probably understand why. In this case, it certainly looks like there are personal ties between the Tax Directorate and the companies that were set to gain from the rental deal, but a regular tender and the lowest price maybe make this fact less significant (something we cannot say about the famous ‘notice-board’ tender, for instance).
The people of Kosice are not happy with the positioning of the premises that the tax authority was set to occupy, though, as they are on the outskirts of the city. Paradoxically, the tax authority in Kosice holds three buildings that it could use, given a little investment and ‘political will’.