Fico: Corruption Is Cancer of Society

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Fico with Presov region teachers on corruption (photo by TASR)

Presov, May 29 (TASR) – Corruption is the cancer of society, although there is a difference between perception and reality in Slovakia, said Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) during his meeting with teachers from Presov region at the Regional School Office in Presov on Monday.

The meeting took place during a conference called ‘Increasing Legal Awareness in the Field of Preventing and Combating Corruption’.

Fico in his speech said that corruption has turned into a strong political issue that is often misused, with various accusations appearing without any evidence. The prime minister stated that he doesn’t want to question the existence of corruption in Slovakia, however. People often talk about it and find it to be a serious problem. Therefore, he must intervene in this issue as prime minister and as the chairman of a political party and make use all legal tools available to do so.

“I want to inform you that we’ve taken quite a serious step at the Cabinet Office by splitting a special department from the supervisory section to deal with the prevention of corruption and to coordinate the various activities that we’re carrying out in this field,” said Fico, adding that he’s striving to strengthen this department. Talks are being held at the moment with a Police Corps’ expert in corruption prevention, who should head the department.

Work on a new law on protecting whistleblowers is fully under way. “We have great expectations from the new law on whistleblowers, as we’re considering introducing brand new tools. For example, if a whistleblower provides high-quality information on corruption that results in a conviction, he could receive financial remuneration,” said Fico.

Fico in his speech stressed that Slovakia is one of only a few countries that has introduced limitations on the use of cash. It’s adopted an anti-letterbox law and introduced an electronic market place. Recently, it’s been successful in catching corrupt individuals red-handed. One example is an employee of the Slovak Land Fund who requested money and was caught in the act.

As a positive example of the anti-corruption fight, Fico pointed to a recent public hearing of candidates for the post of Public Procurements Office (UVO) head. Members of the public were able to ask questions at the hearing, and this may have contributed to the fact that none of the candidates gained a sufficient number of votes. The procedure will now be repeated.