The new foreign affairs minister Miroslav Lajcak has accused his predecessor Mikulas Dzurinda of concluding some suspicious contracts before leaving office and so has decided to cancel them as much as possible.
Both the current and former foreign ministers took part in the political discussion programme Na Telo on TV Markiza yesterday, which was the perfect opportunity for the new minister to bring up the subject. Lajcak pointed to how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs entered into a total of 31 contracts in the period from the general elections on 10 March until 4 April, when the new government of Robert Fico officially took up power.
Lajcak criticised a specific case where the ministry signed a EUR 1 million plus contract with a private company just for preparing an analysis on what to do with depreciated assets in Moscow, e.g. government cars, which he feels is ludicrous. “We know exactly what to do with our assets there. I don’t need a million euro for that”, says Lajcak. The contract was signed by the head of the Service Office at the Ministry just two days before the handover of power.
Lajcak informed how he had already cancelled 15 of 38 contracts that had been brought to his attention as suspicious, with accusations also of coercion by former civil servants at the ministry on new people coming in to sign dubious contracts on the distribution of development aid. He also claims that some Slovak ambassadors abroad have underlined the unfair terms of the contracts.
Dzurinda said he was shocked by the heavy accusations, saying it was all a complete lie and that the ministry had to continue as normal during the handover period, because postponing certain issues could have paralysed the ministry. “I wanted us to be able to draw these funds in the respective year, so that the entities that receive the grants had enough time to use the money effectively” said Dzurinda in justification of the contracts.