Another former Foreign Ministry employee alleges shady tenders

Topical issue

Another former Foreign Ministry employee alleges shady tenders

14. 03. 2017 15:10

Another person, 26-year-old Juraj Zelinka, has joined the two existing whistleblowers Zuzana Hlávková and Pavol Szalai in their allegations that certain contracts and activities surrounding the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of last year were carried out in a shady manner, according to watchdog Transparency International Slovakia. "Again, it's the same thing - that the selection of the contractors was carried out only for appearance's sake," said Gabriel Šípoš from Transparency International Slovakia (TIS) at a press conference on Monday. Zelinka, a former Foreign and European Affairs Ministry employee, made the allegations on his blog. He refused to take part in the press conference, as he did not wish to go public in such a broad format for the moment. According to Šípoš, the new whistleblower is willing to respond to motions, however. Zelinka joined the department for communications and presentation at the Foreign Affairs Ministry after the departure of Hlávková and Szalai. Part of his role involved dealing with public procurement processes for short presentation films, commercials and videos. On his blog he stated that at a meeting in mid-April 2016 the ministry proposed carrying out fictitious market research supposedly aimed at assessing agencies. It would then approach three agencies concerning a contract. "They proposed carrying out 'market research' despite the fact that a specific agency had already been actively working on the commercial spots for several weeks," said the former employee.

On Wednesday, Transparency International is set to meet Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) in order to discuss corruption, among other issues. Šípoš said that if he did not see any effort on the part of the prime minister, there would be no reason for any further meetings in the future. Šípoš also confirmed that the watchdog has once again filed motions with the police, the Supreme Audit Office (NKU), the Anti-monopoly Office (PMU) and the Public Procurements Office. Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Peter Susko responded by saying that Zelinka was an intern at the ministry and that the Supreme Audit Office had been carrying out a far-reaching audit since last week in order to examine all commissions related to the Slovak presidency. The ministry is cooperating with the Anti-monopoly Office to the fullest, he added. "Blogs on the internet and media articles are motions with which audit institutions are dealing, but we really need to let those who hold the legal right and powers decide whether or not the allegations are founded," said Susko, stressing that everyone should wait for the results of the audits.

Anca Dragu, Photo: TASR

Livestream / Živé vysielanie