Transport Ministry Manager Charged With Manipulating Analysis

The Anti-corruption Office has uncovered yet another case of fraud and corruption, this time involving a former section director at the Ministry of Transport, announced interior minister Daniel Lipsic today.

The man is accused of manipulating and modifying an analysis on the suitability of PPP projects. The analysis was ordered last year in March under the former government and while the Ministry of Transport was led by Lubomir Vazny from the Smer-SD party.

The original analysis, prepared by the company Wood & Company, pointed to how PPP projects for constructing the D1 motorway were about EUR 546 million more expensive than if the state were to finance motorway construction using a standard method of financing.

The accused man manipulated the figures, changing the analysis in 76 places, so that PPP projects worked out just EUR 29 million more expensive. This meant that financing overall would be more advantageous if a PPP project were used.

Based on the analysis, the government gave the thumbs up to a contractual addendum to the master contract with the company Slovenske Dialinice, ordering the Ministry of Transport to concluded the deal. Luckily, the new government that got into power in June 2010 suspended the contract, which would have cost the Slovak Republic over EUR 9 billion over the space of 30 years.

If the accused man, named only as P.H., is found guilty, he could face a jail sentence of up to 15 years. He may only be the tip of the iceberg, however, as it is not known who exactly was behind having the analysis reworked. The police are continuing with their investigation.

Former transport minister Lubomir Vazny is already on the defence, for instance, saying the whole affair is part of the KDH party pre-election campaign. The investigation began long before anyone knew the government would fall or that there would be early elections, though.

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