The appetite to attack and expose dubious tenders and orders for the state continues with four hospitals now pinpointed for paying over the top for their external catering.
Attention was brought to the contracts by daily SME, with MP with the Siet party Miroslav Beblavy holding a press conference yesterday calling for the directors of the four hospitals to be sacked, while noting that the orders could not have been made without the consent of the government. The four large hospitals in Banska Bystrica, Trencin, Trnava and Poprad have been using the services of private external companies with questionable ties.
The total value of the contracts comes to a whopping EUR 81 million over the space of ten years. Some hospitals get by with a budget of under EUR 5 a day for meals per patient per days, while the hospitals in question are paying almost double that amount, between EUR 8.30-10.80. Beblavy says the four hospital heads and also the head of the Service Office with the Ministry of Health, Martin Sencak, should all be dismissed.
Daily SME looks closer at the affair and finds that personal ties exist between the companies Dory Gastro and Hospital Catering Solutions. The majority owner of Hospital Catering Solutions is yet another P.O.Box company, Kanebo Investments, based in Luxembourg. The ties between the two companies come in the shape of German citizen Karl Heinz Hauptmann, who sits on the Supervisory Board of Dory Gastro, while the company Kanebo Investments owns Prague-based company ECM Real Estate Development, where Hauptmann is director.
Based on earlier work by Czech journalists, is was discovered that Hauptmann was the secret sponsor of the Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) party in 1997 when they had their accounts blocked, with Hauptmann bailing them out with around EUR 175,000.
Another interesting connection can be seen in Hauptmann’s Slovak business, the company Port Service, also owned by an offshore P.O.Box company, as it was once associated also with current economy minister Pavol Pavlis (Smer-SD. Hauptmann acts on the company’s Supervisory Board.
Another link to the Smer-SD party is seen in the original founder of Hospital Catering Solutions, Robert Lences, as he was nominated by the first government of Prime Minister Robert Fico to the supervisory board of the National Highway Company (NDS).
The Supreme Audit Office and the Anti-trust Office will both be investigating the contracts with the hospitals.