Translation of “Corruption: A money wasting project on the Danube collapsed in an absurd manner” appearing in print weekly Magyar Narancs.
A company from Győr received HUF 57.5 million (USD 212,000) in European Union funds for a recreational center that was never realized.
In the absence of proper inspection, funds allocated to stimulating the economy at home are ending up in the hands of those who have no intention whatsoever of developing, but merely aspire to steal easy money—said Ákos Hadházy during his weekly “corruption info” briefing on Thursday.
The LMP [Politics Can Be Different] co-chair once again presented a company that received an EU grant, the results of which cannot be seen to this day, even though the ministry and the other authorities maintain that everything is fine. According to the politician, those companies that do not have Fidesz friends obtain EU funds with difficulty, and that when they do, they have to account very thoroughly for their use. “However, there are those who do not sting the neck of the ministry responsible for oversight in cases of obvious fraud,” claims the member of parliament.
During the first half of the press conference, Hadházy presented a project in Győr which won a HUF 57.5 million grant from the West of the Danube River Operative Program for touristic development. On paper, a HUF 118 million center planned for a small tributary of the Danube called the Mosoni-Duna was completed featuring a swimming pool, sunbathing areas, a pier for events, and motorboats and tourist boats for rent. The money was transferred by the Ministry for National Economy. According to the official database, everything is fine and the project was closed at the end of November as having been “realized.” For this the company had to submit invoices and accounting confirming that everything was done lawfully. However, according to Hadházy, to this day there is no trace of the project at the planned location and never was because some elements of the half-finished recreational center broke free in February 2014 from their temporary location — allegedly somebody cut the moorings — and disappeared into the Mosoni-Duna. The structure, which originally consisted of three parts, washed ashore in three or more parts, and there are some elements that were abandoned in recent weeks. For this reason it is questionable how the ministry could have found that the support was used properly when the planned location of the project is no longer being used by the company.
The story is made more absurd by the fact that since then a private individual purchased the part of the bank where the project was not realized, only to be told by the authorities that he could not build anything there because a recreational center is located there. The man wanted to build a small pier for which he asked a permit. When his application was refused, he reported the fact that there is nothing there to the West-Duna Regional Development Agency and the Ministry of the Interior. To date nothing of interest has happened regarding the matter, said Hadházy. The LMP co-chair thinks it is unacceptable that “phantom projects” can be qualified as completed when Adso Tech Fejlesztő Kft., another company belonging to one of the owners of the Rezidencia Spa & Finess Kft., was being liquidated and was wound up in September of this year in the same manner a number of companies associated with the same managing director were liquidated earlier.
You cannot even sign up
During the second half of the “corruption info” briefing, the LMP politician addressed a second West of the Danube River Operative Program touristic development project involving a recreational center that was built, but it is questionable how much this promoted tourism considering Hadházy has been trying for weeks to sign up for a long weekend but has yet to receive an answer.
Those wishing to sign up for the Lila-hegyi Recreation and Holiday Center 10 km outside of Győr can only do so via its website. No telephone number appears on the website, even though it states that it received HUF 46 million (USD 170,000) in supports for the project which they promised in their tender application would include business, cultural, and family tourism, as well as forest, bicycle tours, and team-building possibilities. They do not advertise anywhere and it is not possible to know whether it is operating. People living in the area told Hadházy that they were not permitted to use the recreational center. The business cannot be doing too well considering the annual revenue of the company winning the grant, Purple Hill Kft., significantly declined upon completion of the project, closing last year with an operating profit of HUF 2.5 million (USD 9,000). The company has seen better days. In 2013 it won a HUF 17.4 million (USD 65,000) public tender from the Győr Multipurpose Small Region Association to support it with professional leaders, professional project managers and moderating tasks, whatever that means.