Information has come to the surface that the Finance Ministry under the former government spent over EUR 30,000 a year on media training for former finance minister Jan Pociatek, his state secretary Peter Kazimir and ministry spokesman Miroslav Smal. In total the Ministry paid almost EUR 135,000 for this special training over the four-year term of office.
The money was paid for consultations with media psychologist Lubica Mizickova, and in the 11 days of June alone, leading up to the election, a total of EUR 14 565.60 was paid to her company Elem Consulting. Ex-minister Pociatek says this amount was appropriate (it was for 153 hours of service, which works out at around 14 hours a day).
Pociatek is claiming the figures have been taken out of context. “Ms. Mižičková was available to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week” he said, pointing out that the fee was not for courses or training, but media consultation by telephone. Coincidently, Lubica Mizickova was also the media advisor to former prime minister Robert Fico in the past. Furthermore, she is not an official advisor to the ministry, to which Pociatek said: “I perceived it that she was”.
Current finance minister Ivan Miklos is appalled, saying “This money was supposed to improve the qualification of ministry employees, but tens of thousands of euro were spent on media training for just three people instead”. He feels this kind of training should be paid for by respective parties, and not from taxpayers’ money.
Miklos also disclosed that his ministry had discovered several similar cases of what he referred to as ‘dubious spending’. The current government made a promise to uncover and publish all contracts that were financed from public money, and Miklos said he would publicly expose the one for ‘media training’ by the end of August.