Suspicion of Tunneling of the Military Intelligence Service Should Be Investigated
The special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik did not find any irregularities in respect to the closure of the criminal investigation in the case of tunneling of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS). It results from his Announcement made in August where he refused the instigation of Ivan Macko, Vladimír Schodolinského and Lubomír Galko. It is to be underlined that special prosecutor based the review of legality on an evaluation and information provided by MIS- so by persons who might be involved in suspicious disposing of the property. VIA IURIS is thus preparing on the request of Ivan Macko other instigation addressed to general prosecutor. Suspicion of the tunnelling of public resources in an approximate amount of several millions of euros cannot be abandoned without a satisfactory explanation and simply swept under the carpet.
Information related to the suspicion of the theft of the MIS´s property appeared for the first time in May 2013. At that moment media published extracts from a report describing concrete cases of suspicious purchases, reconstructions and sales of the property of MIS in the period 2007-2010 during the first government of SMER when J. Baška was the Minister of Defence. Author of the report was V. Suchodolinský, former deputy director of the MIS during the government of Iveta Radičová. According to the information published by media uneconomic disposal of the property took place in a manner that the MIS firstly purchased property for market prices, further used state money to reconstruct it, later classified it as unnecessary and thus it was sold for low prices to persons close to management of the MIS. According to its authors, mentioned report contains lots of written evidence, for example contracts, accounting documents, internal directives which should sustain statements in the report. Media also informed on connections between main actors and political elite.
Since its beginning the investigation of the suspicion of the tunnelling of the MIS´s property has been raising doubts in respect to the proceedings of the police and of the prosecution service. According to the witnesses who were offerings their testimonies to investigators, police still has not heard all key witnesses. The notifier of the case V. Suchodolinský openly speaks about evidence manipulation with purpose of criminalization of other notifier R. Mikulec, who is still being criminally prosecuted.
The police who was investigating the case is under control of the Minister of Interior Róbert Kaliňák who has had long-term connections with Ľ. Skuhra – the person who was according to published information one of the suspects in the case of the tunnelling. This person is still leading the military intelligence. The investigations concerning suspicions of the tunnelling of the MIS resulted in a closure of the criminal prosecution in February 2015.
In July 2015 I. Macko, V. Suchodolinský and Ľ. Galko decided to ask the prosecution service to review the legality of the closure of the criminal prosecution in the case of tunnelling of the MIS. Moreover they asked the prosecution service to investigate closure of the criminal investigation of a non-publicized case concerning construction of a building within the periphery of Bratislava for 1.5 million of euros. Ivan Macko, ex officer of the MIS, reviewing this case in the MIS stated in his interview for the magazine .Týždeň that already the tender procedure for the construction contractor was raising lots of doubts. Moreover according to him money should be paid in cash –as an advance amounting to full price of the work, and paid few month before signing the contracts. “Why somebody from MIS decided to bring to a private company for example 200 thousands euros in a plastic bag?” wonders Macko.
Instigation to review the legality of the investigator´s proceeding was responded on 11 August 2015 by the special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik, concluding that everything went according to law. Response of the special prosecutor Kováčik to the instigation contains only brief information related to the reasons explaining why he considered the investigation and the decision on its closure as being legal. Main argument consisted in the following statement: “Evaluation of the damage was made and implemented on the basis of the documentation provided by the Military Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic, considering that mentioned documentation contains detailed evaluation of the case in respect to particular points.”
Special prosecutor thus based the review of legality on an evaluation and information provided by MIS- so by persons who might be involved in suspicious disposing of the property. VIA IURIS considers this instigation was dealt with insufficiently and unconvincingly. Therefore we decided to prepare for one of its initiators Ivan Macko other instigation where we will request general prosecutor to review legality of the proceeding and of the decision in the case of the suspicion of the tunnelling of the MIS.
“We respect and do not question the fact, that in present case we face a suspicion of criminal activities in a field where classified information is handled with. Suspicion of the tunnelling however points out to the fact that regime of confidentiality not only serves to enforce competences stipulated by law but might also constitute an alibi for an uneconomic disposal of public property. In case when a public body operates in a shadow or out of possibility of the public control, this constitutes a supplementary reason for the instauration of a specific control mechanism,” states Zuzana Čaputová, attorney cooperating with VIA IURIS. Every suspicion of a misuse of public resources in this kind of field has to be convincingly investigates and explained to the public. Efforts of law enforcement authorities to cover up questionable quality of the investigation arguing that it concerns a sensible area cannot be upheld. At the same time it is indispensable to adopt systemic measures which would prevent occurrence of similar suspicions- that might be through a functional parliamentary control or through a control exercised by a specific expert non-parliamentary body (ex. Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, Portugal, and Belgium).
Confidentiality regime should not constitute a reason for covering up the illegality. VIA IURIS will thus initiate by means of a new instigation a review of the legality of the proceedings during the investigation and the closure of the case concerning the suspicion of tunnelling of the MIS. The public has the right to know more than a simple statement that nothing happened and everything else is confidential information.
We work on th MIS case as a part of the project that was financially supported by Think Tank Fund in the Open Society Foundations and Fund for Transparent Slovakia in Pontis Foundation.