Ex-Construction Ministers Given Jail Terms over ‘Notice-board Scandal’

Former construction and regional development minister Marian J. responding to journalists' questions (photo by TASR)

Pezinok, October 18 (TASR) – The Special Criminal Court in Pezinok (Bratislava region) on Wednesday sentenced former construction and regional development ministers Marian J. and Igor S. to long prison terms over the notorious ‘notice-board tender’, TASR learnt on the same day.

The charges against three other people – Radoslav B., Tomas L. and Zdenka K. – were dropped.

Marian J. was sentenced to 12 years in jail, given a fine worth €30,000 and a ban on working for public bodies for five years.

As for his successor at the ministry, Igor S., the court sentenced him to nine years in prison, imposed a fine of €30,000 on him and also banned him from working for public bodies for five years.

“In the process of assessing evidence the court came to the conclusion that the act did take place,” said the Senate chair. According to the court, the defendants Marian J. and Igor S. failed to publish the call for proposals in question publicly and thus made it impossible for other bidders to participate in the tender. The ex-ministers also acted at odds with the principles of transparency, stated the judge.

The infamous notice-board scandal dates back to 2007, when the Construction Ministry was under the remit of the Slovak National Party (SNS). A €120-million tender for supplying legal and advertising services co-financed by EU funds was announced solely on a notice board on one of the Construction Ministry’s corridors.

The lucrative commission was thus signed with a consortium that already knew about the tender. The two SNS construction ministers – Marian J. and his successor Igor S. – lost their posts over the issue. When the scandal broke, the state scrapped the shady contract, but more than €12 million, which Brussels refused to reimburse for Slovakia, allegedly ended up in the pockets of two private companies.

The ruling isn’t valid yet, as the prosecutor as well as the two ex-ministers have appealed against the court’s decision.