In August, Hungary’s state-run news service published a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office announcing that the Korábban Érkeztem Alapítvány (I Arrived Early Foundation) applied for and was awarded a grant worth HUF 1.2 billion (USD 4.72 million).
According to the statement which was republished on Fidesz’s own website, the EU funds would be used to build “mentor houses” for prematurely born babies and their parents in Szeged, Kecskemét and Gyula — where “prematurely born children and their relatives can access holistic direct services for free”.
The Prime Minister’s Office is responsible for distributing EU funds in Hungary, and Minister Overseeing the Office of the Prime Minister János Lázár happens to be married to a member of the Korábban Érkeztem Alapítvány board of trustees — Zita Megyeri Lázárné.
According to Magyar Narancs, anti-corruption crusader, MP and co-chair of Politics Can Be Different (LMP) Ákos Hadházy started digging around and learned that the grant was awarded without requiring a single Forint in self-financing from the foundation itself.
Hadházy then requested a copy of the project’s feasibility study.
“Aside from showing noble goals, it is very unlikely that these funds will actually show results,” he said. “Again, we see how public funds are being wasted, just as they were wasted with the business affairs of Flórián Farkas.”
According to Hadházy, the feasibility study is not absolutely clear on how all the funds will be used — which raises concerns of overpricing.
Three “mentor houses” would be rented for 30 months for HUF 80 million (USD 315,000), which – according to the real estate prices at those locations – seems unduly excessive, Hadházy said, adding that another HUF 18 million has been allocated for renovations, and a further HUF 20 million would be spent on renting other locations for outside programs.
The foundation also set aside HUF 50 million for legal fees, and a further HUF 53 million to develop a teaching method (a process which would take 1,024 hours, for about HUF 50,000 an hour). Another HUF 70 million was allocated for payroll and HUF 50 million for nine laptops, nine phones, three printers and office furniture.