Commissioner calls for investigation into former DefMin’s alleged graft

Budapest, February 19 (MTI) – Government commissioner Gyula Budai has asked the chief public prosecutor to launch an investigation into corruption allegations against former defence minister Ferenc Juhasz.

The press office of Juhasz’s Socialist party on Friday denied the accusations and said Juhasz would sue for slander.

    Budai, who was appointed in charge of investigations of past governments’ use of public funds, also accused the Budapest Military Prosecution of deliberately glossing over the case.

    On Friday, the right-leaning HirTv said it has surfaced that a brigadier charged in a defence ministry-related corruption scandal had given evidence against Juhasz in his testimony made about a year ago.

    The brigadier, referred to as Janos O., said he had once delivered 12 million forints (44,000 euros) in cash to Laszlo Fapal, state secretary at the defence ministry at the time, and saw him putting 4 million forints into a cardboard whisky box and saying it was “for the boss”, meaning Juhasz. He then said he saw Fapal leave and return without the box, said HirTV.

    Budai told MTI that his office had for months been investigating the ministry’s corruption scandals, including contracts signed by Fapal, for example for consultation services in excessive amounts. Fapal has since been charged and arrested, but Juhasz was never even questioned despite Janos O.’s testimony, Budai said, adding that since the military prosecution closed the case on January 19 it is “obvious they were trying to cover up Juhasz’s involvement”. He added that Tamas Kovacs, former chief prosecutor, must have known about evidence against Juhasz, too.

    Budai has turned to chief public prosecutor Peter Polt and asked him to review the records of Janos O.’s testimonies and to clear up the circumstances of what he called “the biggest corruption scandal of the past 20 years”.

    Juhasz, who is a deputy of the Socialist party, headed the defence ministry from May 2002 to June 2006 under consecutive Socialist-liberal governments.

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