No progress in corruption case after year and a half of foot-dragging

July 17, 2017

MTI Fotó: Koszticsák Szilárd

Prosecutors have made no progress in a corruption investigation into Fidesz mayor of Szekszárd, Rezső Ács. The case was reported to authorities by Politics Can Be Different (LMP) co-chair Ákos Hadházy (pictured) more than a year ago, reports

Hadházy released a recording in January 2016 – allegedly made in 2012 – of mayor Ács discussing with fellow assemblymen the systematic overpricing of European Union-funded projects so as to enable local governments to avoid having to contribute any equity. The LMP politician claimed that the city of Szekszárd spent HUF 130 million (USD 448,000) building a kindergarten that should have cost only HUF 66 million (USD 227,500), and filed a report.

The investigating authorities seemed to be unwilling to investigate the case from the beginning. Although Hadházy attached the recording to his report, police concluded that it does not raise the suspicion of abuse of office or misappropriation of funds, so the case was passed to the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV). However, NAV later passed the case back to the police because the tax office did not find evidence of budget fraud, but suspected abuse of office or misappropriation of funds instead.

Tired of waiting, Hadházy requested information about the progress of the investigation from Chief Prosecutor of Hungary Péter Polt. Based on Polt’s answer, the two authorities directly overseen by the government have done no investigative work at all since Hadházy filed his report.

“The obstruction of the timely completion of the investigation is caused by the delay of the forensic architect,” reads Polt’s answer. “No suspects were interrogated in the case.” He promised to investigate why the police and NAV had passed the case back and forth between each other.