Ligeti says gov’t using public funds for purposes that do not serve the public interest

March 4, 2016


“I’m starting to believe that in the last three days members of the parliament and government got their hands on some very pure or strong substance. They’ve smoked this substance so hard that it has given completely different visions of the future than what the rest of us see. Maybe what they should do next is share some of this substance with us so that our perspectives will also open up before us and we, too, can experience these wonders that they see,” said Miklós Ligeti, legal director for Transparency International Hungary.

Ligeti made this comment Thursday night on ATV’s nightly talk show Egyenes Beszéd  (Straight Talk). He was invited to speak to host Olga Kálmán about the hugely controversial bill (proposed one day and adopted the next) which allows for the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) to classify how foundations set up under current central bank governor György Matolcsy have spent some USD 900 million worth of public funds.

“Either they have lost their medication or they got their hands on some really good substances because, for us on the outside, it really looks like they have lost their minds,” Ligeti said.

“What they are trying to get us to believe is that having absolutely no idea how that enormous ocean of money the central bank creates is being spent is what’s best for us, Hungarian citizens,” he continued.

Ligeti said the MNB law is closely linked with another controversial bill adopted on the same day permitting the Hungarian Postal Service to classify information that is otherwise public interest information.

The Transparency International legal director says the main problem in all of these cases is that the government is using public funds for purposes that do not serve the public interest.

“The Post Service’s funds, among other things, were used to squeeze savings cooperatives out of their ownership of Takarékbank and then pass their ownership over to the pockets of one of the government’s favorite little cronies,” Ligeti said.

“The more nontransparent the manner in which this is done, the higher the likelihood that these funds are involved in a corrupt practice.”

He said the problem is that the parliament and government are deliberately crafting legislation to make these otherwise illegal practices legal with the use of nonsensical legal arguments.