Opposition calls for dismissal of Pavlis

Opposition MPs Igor Matovič (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities-OĽaNO), Daniel Lipšic (independent, extra-parliamentary NOVA party) and MEP Richard Sulik (Freedom and Solidarity-SaS) call on Prime Minister Robert Fico to dismiss Economy Minister Pavol Pavlis due to his alleged conflict of interest in the lawsuit involving Port Service company and the National Property Fund (FNM) and as a result of which the state might lose €60 million. Pavlis has been aiding the firm in this lawsuit against the state in the long term – not only in the capacity of FNM Supervisory Board member but also as the Economy Minister, the opposition MPs claimed, as quoted by the TASR newswire. It was Veronika Remišová, Bratislava Old Town Borough councillor (supported by Christian-Democratic Movement-KDH, Most-Híd, NOVA, SaS, OĽaNO, and Conservative Democrats of Slovakia-KDS) that drew public attention to the case. Port Service, a company where Pavlis used to be the Board of Directors chair, is seeking legal action against FNM to receive money as compensation for the unsuccessful privatisation attempt of Slovak Shipping and Ports. The firm was expelled from the tender for its failure to meet the requirements, as its current owner is based in Curacao, an island off the coast of Venezuela. “Robert Fico has been trying long-term to create an impression of a fighter for transparency in politics, one who’s against mailbox companies,” Matovič told TASR on January 27. “In reality, however, when he gazes across the table at which he sits every Wednesday [during government sessions], a person sits there who put his firm into a tax haven five days prior to the election, spent a subsequent month coming to meetings of the general assembly and acted on behalf of the firm.” The lawmakers pointed out that the company filed a lawsuit against FNM only five days after Pavlis became a member of FNM’s Supervisory Board. It was from this post that Pavlis allegedly provided Port Services a loan of €20,000, seeing as the firm lost a legal battle against FNM at the Bratislava Regional Court in 2008 and in order to file an appeal with the Supreme Court it required money to pay legal fees. “We call on Fico to dismiss Pavol Pavlis,” Matovič added. “It’s evident that even as the Economy Minister he continues to pursue interests of the firm where he used to be an official owner until 2006 and is quite likely a tacit owner after 2006.” The case will be discussed by the Parliamentary Extraordinary Committee for Economic Affairs on January 29 at a session to which Pavlis is also invited. The opposition announced that if Fico fails to oust Pavlis, they will initiate the convening of an extraordinary parliamentary session to that end.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015