Contractors, lawyers, and experts received government pay-out at the end of 2017

January 9, 2018
Photo: Flickr/Flazingo Photos

Translation of article appearing in print weekly HVG under the title “Fantastic hourly fees: the same old lawyers and contractors got their share of the year-end money hand-out.

There was a company that received nearly HUF 1 billion for one week’s work.

In addition to the gigantic year-end money hand-out favoring (sport) investments, contractors, legal offices, and experts connected to the government also received some tens or even hundreds of millions of forints in December according to contracts recently published by the Office of the Prime Minister.

A framework agreement concluded last February with ÉSZ-KER and the SBGK legal offices in the amount of HUF 1.4 billion valid through the end of 2017 was extended three months and increased by HUF 2.1 billion. The subject of the framework agreement is providing written consultation featuring “expert advice on legal and public procurement matters with regard to public procurement involving finances originating from the subsidiary systems of the state budget in accordance with the laws in force at the time, as well as assisting supervisory authorities in connection with their tasks arising from the laws in force.”

This is the consortium’s umpteenth order in the billions of forints from the Office of the Prime Minister over a span of ten years, beginning with contracts awarded to ÉSZ-KER majority owner Péter György Kárpáti, who can be linked to [businessman] István Garancsi and [the Prime Minister’s son-in-law] István Tiborcz.  The SBGK Law Offices are linked to István Bajkai, Budapest 8th district vice-mayor (Fidesz) and recently elected Fidesz 9th district president, whose office has received billions of government funding.

HUF 986 million — HUF 14 million shy of HUF 1 billion — was given to the infamous neighbor of propaganda ministry head Antal Rogán, Csaba Csetényi’s Network 360 advertising agency as well.  Of course this is pocket change in comparison to the HUF 6 billion in orders won by the agency last autumn (in part together with Csetényi’s other company, Affiliate Kft.), but it should be mentioned that the contract was for one week’s work.  Although the work — graphic design and preparation of print materials — is not described in detail, it is entirely possible that the company prepared the letter sent out by Orbán last week for this amount.

The National Political State Secretariat also granted a not-too-long, three-week contract in the amount of HUF 650 million to the person called Fidesz’s “hop master”, Szilvia Varga, who has been organizing party events for over a decade. The task is “Public Relations and communications advice related to the 2017 family businesses of Hungarians living abroad annual program.”  Another contractor, Andrea Fritcsi, received a contract in the same amount from Minister Overseeing the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár’s portfolio.

In a similar manner, the Office of the Prime Minister contracted with Horváth and partner law office for three months for “only” HUF 22.6 million.  The law office, which previously received contracts in the billions of forints from the Ministry for National Development and the Ministry for National Economy, is to provide “legal services defined in section 5, paragraph 1 of 1998 law XI on lawyers.”