There seems to be no end in sight for the dispute between finance minister Ivan Miklos and Supreme Court chairman, Stefan Harbin. The dispute all started when the Ministry of Finance wanted to conduct an audit at the Supreme Court, but its auditors were turned away at the door several times.
Following various verbal and procedural attacks on each other, finance minister Miklos announced yesterday that in addition to endorsing a fine of EUR 33,000 on the Supreme Court and of EUR 1,000 on Harabin, the Ministry has now decided to file criminal charges against Harabin with the Prosecutor General and the police, for obstructing the course of the audits and for abuse of the position of a public official.
Miklos decision is backed by the legal opinions of several lawyers that agree the Ministry is fully entitled to conduct audits at the Supreme Court. “The only lawyer saying otherwise is Stefan Harabin,” said Miklos. Harabin is claiming that audits at the Supreme Court can only be carried out by the Supreme Audit Office (NKU), even though the Ministry of Finance conducted similar audits of the Supreme Court both in 2007 and 2009.
Now the Supreme Court has issued a statement saying that its doors are forever closed to the Ministry of Finance, while reiterating that the only competent authority to carry out the audit is the Supreme Audit Office. Looking at things objectively, if everything at the Supreme Court is in order and duly processed, it should really make no difference who conducts the audit.