Fico: Office for Public Interest Protection to Be Set Up in Slovakia

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Prime Minister Robert Fico (stock photo by TASR)

Laxenburg/Bratislava, September 22 (TASR-correspondent) – An Office for Public Interest Protection is likely to be set up in Slovakia in order to protect people who are willing to combat corruption, stated Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) in the Austrian town of Laxenburg on Friday after meeting Dean of the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) Martin Kreutner.

“We’re at a relatively advanced stage, and I can say now that an Office for Public Interest Protection is likely to be created in Slovakia, which, among other things, will be responsible for protecting people who are ready to fight corruption by providing high-quality information,” said Fico.

The Slovak premier added that the governing coalition is in favour of submitting a new constitutional law on origin of property disclosure. “The burden of proof would be shifted to a person suspected of not being able to explain the origin of his or her property,” said the premier.

Fico and Kreutner at the meeting discussed mutual cooperation in combating corruption and inked a joint memorandum to this effect. Fico stressed that he doesn’t want “ad hoc” cooperation, but plans to draw up a three-year cooperation plan in the near future.

The Slovak premier further said that as much as €200,000 has already been earmarked for organising anti-corruption courses. “We want to focus on the judiciary and then … on the health-care sector,” he said, noting that another sphere of cooperation should include public procurement procedure.

Meanwhile, Kreutner offered to allow two Slovaks to join the study programmes at the academy free of charge. The IACA dean added that he and Fico spoke about specific steps for the future.