Police to investigate Budapest Government Office over ORÖ scandal

May 8, 2017

The Budapest Police Headquarters has ordered an investigation of the Budapest Government Office on suspicion of official abuses related to the operation of a joint program between the Hungarian government and the National Roma Council (ORÖ). The police department’s anti-Corruption and Economic Crime bureau will determine whether the Budapest Government Office failed to exercise adequate oversight over the ORÖ, when it was revealed that the Roma advocacy organization had fraudulently used state funds via its “Bridge Into the Working World” program.

According to Romnet.hu, a website focusing on Roma issues, the Budapest Government Office may have assisted the ORÖ in serving the interests of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s commissioner on Roma affairs Flórián Farkas (above), by only partially fulfilling its responsibilities to monitor the administration of the organization’s Roma employment program. Farkas oversaw the joint ORÖ program as it used public funds for office space, salaries, studies and car rentals. According to a report from RTL Klub, however, no jobs were created for Roma through the program: the money disappeared, but Farkas still enjoyed the support of the prime minister.