Bratislava, November 14 (TASR) – Police have thoroughly investigated the alleged buying of votes in the village of Lomnicka (Presov region), stated Police Corps President Tibor Gaspar at a press briefing on Monday.
Gaspar thus rejected the criticism from former government proxy for Roma communities Peter Pollak (OLaNO-NOVA) and OLaNO-NOVA leader Igor Matovic, who earlier in the day called on MPs Stanislav Kubanek and Peter Chudik (both Smer-SD) to give up their seats in Parliament, as they obtained them illegally by allegedly buying votes from Roma. Information concerning the alleged vote buying from Roma during this year’s general election was first published by public service broadcaster RTVS some time ago.
“The investigator inspected the case separately, without any influence from the outside,” said Gaspar, adding that the investigation was supervised by the Special Prosecutor’s Office as well.
Gaspar explained that the crime of election fraud didn’t take place. “I’m not recommending how somebody received a certain number of votes within the election campaign. I want to say that the crime of corruption as it had been submitted and in the way it was investigated didn’t take place,” he said.
According to Gaspar, the investigator conducted a hearing of the 13 witnesses in the case, carried out six interrogations and subsequently dealt with the contradictions in the testimonies.
A total of five Roma citizens confessed that they sold their votes for a packet of cigarettes each, but they changed their testimony later on. Subsequently, the investigator submitted the case to the district police headquarters in the town of Stara Lubovna (Presov region) and the Roma were charged with the crime of perjury. Four of them agreed to sign an agreement on guilt and punishment, while the fifth is still being investigated, stated Gaspar.
According to the police corps president, police couldn’t press charges against the two Smer-SD MPs (Kubanek and Chudik), as none on the witnesses claimed having discussed the vote buying with the two MPs.
Regarding the fact that Kubanek and Chudik managed to leapfrog even Prime Minister Robert Fico on a party slate in this Roma village, Gaspar refused to comment.
A few day ago, RTVS reported that there was a new witness in the case of buying votes from Roma in Lomnicka. Gaspar at the briefing responded that the police have already contacted the Opposition MPs from OLaNO-NOVA as well as RTVS. “If new findings that would enable the re-opening of the investigation emerge, it will happen,” he said.
“The Opposition has apparently started its campaign for the regional elections [set for 2017]. It’s not the first time that they’re attacking regional politicians by some fabricated issue that had already been officially closed by the police. The Smer-SD party won’t let itself be drawn into this unfair game. Smer-SD candidates will address their voters by a [electoral] programme,” said Smer-SD spokesperson Lubica Koncalova in response to the Opposition statements.