06. 02. 2015 Philanthropy

Firms want to see change in Slovakia, they support the elimination of corruption and reforms

The Fund for a Transparent Slovakia reallocated €95,000 between five non-government agencies, which reveal fight for transparency.

The Fund for a transparent Slovakia reallocated €95,000 between five non-governmental organisations, which reveal cases of corruption and abuse of power, the fight for increased transparency and equal opportunities on the market. This is about the only fund of its kind, which contributes to the increasingly important companies in Slovakia.

A lack of transparency and corruption lead to market distortions, creating waste, harming healthy competition, harms the creation of jobs and generates many other barriers for the development of business. “For the healthy functioning of the economy, it is essential to have a fair and effective justice enforcement of responsibility towards those who abuse the system,” explains Lenka Surotchak, director of the Pontis Foundation.

Justice opens reforms

Law enforcement and an efficient judicial system are in terms of punishing acts of corruption key prerequisites for reducing the level of corruption. “Personnel changes in the judiciary, which began last year with the fall of Chief Justice Štefan Harabin, justice opened for necessary reforms,” said Radovan Pala from the law firm TaylorWessing, which is one of the partners of the Fund for a Transparent Slovakia.

No one Punished

Organisations VIA IURIS and the Fair-play Alliance, which significantly contributed to the changes in the justice system will also support the fund this year, to continue to maintain the system of pressure against abuses of power. “Our country has a problem with the enforceability of rights and justice as a whole, failing in the accountability of acts of corruption. In the 20 years of Slovakia’s history there is not one single case of a conviction or punishment of major players in major corruption cases. Public authorities are not those who have been delegated – politicians, but players in the background. In addition to the personal failures of people who are subject to corrupt pressure, here there are no mechanisms, which would allow the punishment of the most serious forms of corruption,” says Zuzana Čaputová, a solicitor cooperating with VIA IURIS. 

Register of Politicians’ interests

The Fair Play Alliance wants to shine a light also on the statement of politicians’ interests. “We are approaching an election term, when our politicians will try to show a pretty face. It is important that we keep the debate based on facts. In the cases where liability is not exerted, we will provide consistent responsibility of the administration, at the Prosecutor’s Office, in the courts, the Office for public procurement and we will require that specific violations of the law are punished and specific people are held strictly accountable. If we just look on, society will continue to degrade. Our desire is that this agenda becomes a public concern and we want it to involve citizens,” says Zuzana Wienk of the Fair Play Alliance.

Continue to monitor the work of judges

Transparency International Slovakia (TIS) already this autumn will issue its regular publication of the Anti-corruption Minimum, which will bring important data on the state of corruption in Slovakia and through the web portal Otvorenesudy.sk. “Working to improve justice is long term and we cannot expect rapid changes. The optimal way to go about it is inferring personal responsibility through the comparison and evaluation of judges and their judgements. That’s what we did and we will continue to do so. We want to look at whether a judge rules in such cases as other judges, whether two citizens received the same verdict. We will be interested in cases of misuse of public power,” said Gabriel Šípoš, director of TIS. Among the supporting organisations are also the Institute for Good Governance (Inštitút SGI) and the Institute for Economic and Social Reform (INEKO).

The Fund for a Transparent Slovakia successfully works with funds from 16 major companies doing business in Slovakia and gradually others are joining. This year the non-government organisations are reallocating the historically largest package of money.

Deciding on the projects is an independent commission of journalists and personalities from social life. Among them Markiza reporter Barbora Demešová, Marie Vrabcová from the daily Új Szó, Konštantín Čikovský deputy editor of the newspaper Denník N, sociologist Martin Slosiarik and writer Tomáš Janovic.

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