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'Serious Crimes': Top Slovak Officials, Non-State Rescue Head Arrested

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Israel Ojoko
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'Serious Crimes': Top Slovak Officials, Non-State Rescue Head Arrested

Slovakia's National Criminal Agency's Central Department has arrested four individuals, including prominent figures from the environment and rescue sectors.

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The arrests encompass Ján Čulka, the leader of the non-state rescue organization KCZS, and former directors of state enterprises under the Ministry of Environment. The Special Prosecutor's Office is presently overseeing the case.

Charges Allege Mismanagement and Money Laundering

The case involves nine individuals and one legal entity. Charges leveled against these parties are particularly serious crimes, including the violation of the duty to manage another's property, engaging in machinations in public procurement and auction, and money laundering.

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Nine acts related to asset mismanagement in the Slovak Water Management Enterprise and Water Management Construction form the crux of the charges.

Among the arrested also include Milan Boros, former director of the State Nature Conservancy, and Martin Lakanda, both of whom signed contracts with KCZS for nature protection and forest fire prevention, respectively, without public procurement. The contracts amounted to 850,000 euros each.

Continued Contracts Despite Punitive Measures

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Despite preliminary punitive measures taken by the Ministry of Environment and the voiding of contracts by the new director Dušan Karaska, a contract with KCZS for guarding the Gabčíkovo Waterworks continued.

A 500,000-euro contract was signed in 2021. KCZS, which has been supported by the state since its inception, also handled state quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a contract amounting to 300,000 euros.

The government further supported the organization to establish a center in Gabčíkovo, ceremoniously inaugurated by politicians Robert Kaliňák and Béla Bugár in 2009.

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Implications of the Arrests

The arrests mark a significant turn of events in Slovakia's public enterprise sector. The individuals in question held important positions and were responsible for managing significant assets and contracts.

With ongoing investigations into the allegations, these developments shed a light on potential malpractices in the sector. As the case progresses under the Special Prosecutor's Office, it is hoped that justice will be served and measures will be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

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