“I’m going to stay in Hódmezővásárhely until I’ve reviewed all the public procurements of recent years. Even János Lázár cannot be opposed to this in that he said we could review every document going back as far as András Rapcsák (Lázár’s predecessor as mayor and mentor-ed.) – András Horváth, former tax inspector and chief of staff to LMP politician and anti-corruption crusader Ákos Hadházy
Former National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) whistleblower András Horváth (pictured) has been authorized by the new mayor of Hódmezővásárhely, Péter Márki-Zay, to review contracts concluded by his predecessor. Horváth believes the “Elios method” may have been used in a number of public procurements to ensure that companies close to former mayor Lázár won lucrative, EU-funded, government contracts, reports hvg.hu.
“Kupola 2000 Kft. won the contract to procure garbage containers in 2015 even though prior to that it operated as a Bt. (limited partnership) with hardly any revenues,” asserts Horváth, who made a name for himself in 2014 by exposing systemic corruption at his former employer, state tax office NAV.
Horváth’s first order of business is to compare the public procurement documents with the data contained on the Public Procurement Office’s public database.
“Once Kupola 2000 became a Kft., it immediately won a public tender to purchase HUF 1.2 billion (USD 4.8 million) worth of garbage containers for the public sanitation company, and other equipment necessary for its operation even though previously this did not belong to the company’s profile,” said the former tax inspector. “It also won a tender to fulfill the tram-train’s public disclosure obligations, but the local government also regularly engaged this company to appraise real estate as well.”
The fact that the same person owns Kupola 2000 Kft. and Épitészmester Kft., which also received numerous orders from the local government, leads Horváth to believe that Lázár, now Minister Overseeing the Prime Minister’s Office, “has his own Mészáros,” referring to Lőrinc Mészáros, the rags-to-riches former gaspipe fitter widely suspected of being Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s strawman in business matters.
Horváth said Délút Kft., registered in the Szeged suburb of Algyő, won a lion’s share of road construction public tenders, including HUF 650 million (USD 2.6 million) to build infrastructure within an industrial park and HUF 1.3 billion (USD 5.2 million) to build a 3.2-kilometer segment of a bypass road, beating out western firms Strabag and Colas Zrt., which, according to Horváth “did not meet the environmental protection requirements.”
Based on what he has seen to date, Horváth believes there are public procurement cases similar to the Elios one involving the prime minister’s son-in-law, which European anti-corruption authorities believe involved a criminal conspiracy among a group of related companies, local governments and the Office of the Prime Minister, led by none other than Lázár. Such cases involve government-coordinated collusion on the part of bidders and the subsequent divvying up of public contracts. On one occasion, bids were received from two different companies owned by the same individual, reports Horváth. Such behavior, says the former tax inspector, rules out the possibility of genuine competition and drives up the cost of public projects to Hungarian and European taxpayers. In the case of Hódmezővásárhely, the small circle of companies that won public tenders was connected to the local government in other ways.
“I’m going to stay in Hódmezővásárhely until I’ve reviewed all the public procurements of recent years,” Horváth said. “Even János Lázár cannot be opposed to this in that he said we could review every document going back as far as András Rapcsák (Lázár’s predecessor as mayor and mentor-ed.).”