09. 12. 2022 Pontis Foundation

The Fund for Transparent Slovakia has already allocated more than 1 million euros to fight corruption and increase the transparency of the state

For ten years, the Fund for Transparent Slovakia at the Pontis Foundation has been supporting analytical and watchdog organisations that contribute to the control of compliance with laws and the fight against corruption. During its existence, the fund supported 68 projects in a total amount of almost 1.2 million euros. This investment demonstrably helped to save hundreds of millions of euros from public resources. It started the necessary changes in the rehabilitation of the judiciary, better enforcement of the law or verification of the effectiveness of state administration investments in IT.

The Fund for Transparent Slovakia, administered by the Pontis Foundation, was established in 2012. Its goal is to support organisations and initiatives that help implement systemic changes in the area of eliminating corruption and state hijacking while also creating public scrutiny and pressure on all actors to comply with laws and ethical standards.

“At the time when we established the fund, surveys showed that corruption is the fifth most serious problem of Slovak society for Slovaks, right after unemployment, living standards, healthcare and the economic situation in the country. In ten years, we have improved significantly in the ranking of perceptions of corruption. I am convinced that this is also thanks to the organisations that we have supported from the fund,” says Michal Kišša, executive director of the Pontis Foundation. According to Transparency International’s 2021 world ranking, Slovakia is 56th out of 180 evaluated countries, four places better than the year before.

During its existence, the Fund for Transparent Slovakia announced 12 large grant calls, in which it supported a total of 68 projects. The amount of redistributed funds exceeded a million euros. Grants were awarded to established organisations such as Via Iuris, Transparency International, the Institute for a Well-Governed Society, the Fair Play Alliance and the Stop Corruption Foundation. “We support such projects that contribute to the control and improvement of the activities of the courts, the police and the prosecutor’s office, supervise the correct spending of public funds, uncover corruption cases and also various connections between politicians and powerful people in the background,” adds M. Kišša.

The Fund for Transparent Slovakia concept has no parallel in neighbouring countries. It was created as a unique initiative of responsible companies that contribute financially and non-financially to the support of analytical and watchdog organisations. Currently, the fund has 13 members. “Respecting the principles of the rule of law and ensuring a fair and predictable environment is essential for the functioning of a modern and prosperous society. As recent history clearly shows, non-profit organisations also play an irreplaceable role in this process, which form a critical, independent control mechanism, especially in the case of systemic failure of state control institutions and mechanisms,” says Miroslav Šarišský, Director of the Human Resources and Management Organisation Department at Slovak Power Plants (orig. Slovenské elektrárne), member of the executive committee and one of the founders of the Fund for Transparent Slovakia.

It is demonstrable that projects supported by the Fund for Transparent Slovakia helped to save hundreds of millions from public funds, actively contributed to reducing the space for corruption and increasing transparency. For example, the Institute for Economic and Social Reforms created a tool for evaluating the quality and efficiency of Slovak hospitals; the Fair Play Alliance had the opportunity to conduct investigations and analyses that revealed serious cases, waste of public funds, and violations of laws and ethical lapses. Thanks to the grant, Slovensko.Digital has created a specialised Red Flags methodology for evaluating state IT projects, which creates long-term pressure for more careful spending of state funds. Transparency International increased public control over the work of courts and prosecutors by compiling a ranking of the quality of judges. The Stop Corruption Foundation, in turn, created the Zindex project, which evaluates state and local government public procurement.

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