Corruption hurting Slovak economy, secret service says

BRATISLAVA Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:39pm EDT

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BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Corruption in public tenders and diversion of European Union funds damaged Slovakia's economy last year, the Slovak counter-intelligence service (SIS) said on Thursday.

Many of the euro zone member's 5.4 million people view corruption as a necessary evil. Its efforts to root out crooked political and business practices since the end of communist rule over what was then Czechoslovakia in 1989 have had only limited success.

In its 2011 report, the SIS identified manipulation of public infrastructure tenders, mainly in the utilities sector.

"Data collected by the SIS over the monitoring period highlighted continuing damage to Slovakia's economic interests in companies with state or regional government participation," the SIS said in its annual report, the first one to be made public since the 2005 report.

SIS gave no details of individual cases or any estimate of the economic damage caused. The Finance Ministry said in March that, in 2010, fraud and tax evasion had cost Slovakia around 2.3 billion euros or 3.5 percent of GDP.

The SIS also said it had "gathered information about non-transparent allocation of European Union and state budget funds, (which were) subsequently used in conflict with their declared purpose".

And it said private equity groups, whom it did not name, had used corruption and illicit lobbying to try to establish a monopoly in the health sector.

Czech-Slovak Penta Investments is the main private equity group with activities in the sector, running a private health insurer, private hospitals and a chain of drug stores.

Penta could not be reached for comment, but its spokesman Martin Danko told the Slovak daily Sme that Penta did not engage in illicit practices and that suggestions that it engaged in corruption were nothing but rumors.

Many of the countries of eastern and central Europe have failed to build up independent police and judicial systems strong enough to tackle the political and business corruption that have flourished since the end of totalitarian rule.

The European Commission said on Thursday it intended to withhold EU funds from Romania because it had identified serious problems in its anti-corruption procedures.

Tens of thousands of Slovaks took to the streets in February over leaked transcripts of meetings of senior state officials with Penta representatives in which they allegedly discussed kickbacks in return for the sale of public companies.

No criminal charges have been filed in that case and Danko denied at the time that Penta had had the alleged contacts with politicians, adding that it had not received preferential treatment during any transactions.

In the neighboring Czech Republic, police brought fraud charges two weeks ago against a close associate of a former prime minister in connection with over a deal to buy armored personnel carriers from Austria.

The Slovak SIS monitors wasteful or fraudulent use of state and local government property, corruption and cronyism in central and regional administrations, major tax and customs fraud as well as threats to energy security.

(Reporting by Martin Santa; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Comments (1)
DeanMJackson wrote:
After the “collapse” of the East Bloc, standard operating procedures on the heels of such political revolutions were never implemented, one procedure being the critical de-Communization program! Since there was no conquest that liberated the East Bloc, it would have been up to the “freed” people themselves to conduct the program.

Here’s what would have happened in the “freed” USSR if the “collapse” of the USSR were legitimate, and not a strategic ruse:

(1) Immediately after the “collapse” of the USSR high-ranking present and “former” Communist Party members within the various Federal government branches of the post Soviet republics were never arrested in the interests of national security:

Since there was no conquest that liberated the USSR, it would have been up to the people themselves to conduct the arrests to ensure the continuity of the freed state.

(2) Lower level Communist Party members within the 15 governments of the post USSR would have been immediately fired in the interests of national security:

The hated low-ranking CPSU members at all levels of government, who for 74 years persecuted the 90% of the population who were non-Communist, would have been fired from government positions, especially education. The freed Soviet public would then have requested assistance from the West to ensure critical services remained on-line until enough qualified freed Soviets could fill those positions.

(3) the Russian electorate these last 21 years have inexplicably only been electing for President and Prime Minister Soviet era Communist Party Quislings:

Presidents of Russia since 1991:

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin – July 10, 1991 – December 31, 1999 – Communist.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – 31 December 1999 – 7 May 2000 (Acting) and May 7, 2000 – May 7, 2008 – Communist.

Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev – May 7, 2008 – May 7, 2012, during his studies at the University he joined the Communist Party.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – May 7, 2012 – Present, Communist:

Yeltsin and Putin would have been arrested in the interests of national security, while Medvedev would have been shunned by the newly freed Russians.

(4) there was no de-Communization program initiated after the “collapse” of the USSR to ferret out Soviet era Communist agents still in power:

The fact that there were no Allies in the freed USSR to carry out a de-Communization program, meant the freed Soviets would not only have had to take up that program themselves but ensure, unlike the German de-Nazification example in post war Germany, its effectiveness since:

(1) there was no occupation force to ensure the Communists weren’t still in power or could mount a violent comeback; and

(2) ) unlike the Nazis that persecuted minorities in Germany and were not generally hated by the dominant society, in the USSR Communists were the hated minority who persecuted the majority.

(5) not one “crime against humanity” indictment of the thousands of Soviet era criminals still alive:

Even post Nazis Germany convicted and imprisoned Nazis war criminals.

(6) the refusal of the Russian Navy to remove the hated Communist Red Star from the bows of vessels, and the refusal of the Russian Air Force to remove the Communist Red Star from the wings of Russian military aircraft, not to mention placing the hated Communist Red Star on all new Naval vessels and military aircraft:

To the ordinary Russian, the Communist Red Star was the symbol for the hated Communist regime that for 74 years persecuted the 90% of the nation who were non-Communist; and

(7) Lenin’s tomb still exists in Red Square:

Just as the people of Germany tore apart the Berlin Wall in 1989, so too the Russian people would have destroyed Lenin’s tomb on December 25, 1991. The 74-year persecution of the 90% non-Communist Russian population would have seen Lenin’s tomb destroyed.

Oct 25, 2012 4:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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