Ombudsman Kandrac sucked into Harabin-Miklos wrangling

Following two weeks of wrangling between Finance Minister Ivan Miklos and head of the Supreme Court Stefan Harabin, no real progress has been made. It all started when the Ministry of Finance wanted to conduct an audit at the Supreme Court, something that Harabin has been preventing ever since.

Slovak Ombudsman Pavel Kandrac said yesterday, 9 August, that the Ministry of Finance had “the sovereign right” to audit the Supreme Court. “My office isn’t against being audited either, as I view it as part of the management rules,” said the Ombudsman. He was responding to the demand of Harabin to have the Ombudsman and also the Procecutor General, Dobroslav Trnka, present at a meeting with Finance Minister Miklos.

Kandrac also said that he saw no reason for him to be present at the meeting and that it would not help settle the ‘dispute’. He added, though, that he would consider being present at the meeting if he is officially invited.

Harabin, who has prevented four attempts by the Ministry of Finance to audit the Supreme Court in the past two weeks, has been using the argument that the only competent authority to audit the Supreme Court is the Supreme Audit Office (NKU). In the meantime, the Ministry of Finance has imposed fines of EUR 33,000 on the Supreme Court and another EUR 1,000 on Harabin himself, for preventing the course of the audits.

There is nothing unusual about the audit, and the Ministry conducted similar audits at the Supreme Court in 2007 and 2009, so questions are now being asked as to why Harabin does not want the audit to be carried out by the Ministry of Finance (led by SKDU-DS), but instead wants it to be done by the NKU (led by Jan Jasovsky, former deputy of the LS-HZDS party, which nominated Harabin as the head of the Supreme Court).

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