Slovak president vetoes procurement law amendment

By bne IntelliNews December 18, 2014

bne IntelliNews -

 

Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska has vetoed changes to the public procurement act, arguing that parliament should stiffen the legislation to combat corruption.

The president has returned the amendment to parliament after it was approved by the Smer-dominated lower house on December 3. The amendment states that only companies with a transparent ownership structure can take part in public tenders. However, Kiska  says it doesn't go far enough.

The new regulations are not in accordance with either the constitution or European legislation, Kiska insists. Specifically, the president says the law will be ineffective in fighting corruption because it only requires formal owners be revealed.

The president’s view is in line with that of the opposition, which has also complained that the names of the ultimate beneficiaries of companies competing for state contracts can still remain covered up. It has accused the government of blocking attempts to amend the law.

The parties say companies must reveal their ultimate beneficiary, while the central bank should maintain a registry of shell companies. Smer insists the amendment will result in a more detailed overview of potential links between bidding companies and politicians.

Dubious tenders in the health sector have sparked protests and the sacking of Smer officials. Powerful former parliament speaker Pavol Paska was accused of being the ultimate beneficiary behind the supplier of over-priced medical equipment. Protest has continued despite his resignation in mid-November. He denies any wrongdoing.

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