National land manager denies abuse of land lease bids – paper

Budapest, October 27 (MTI) – The chairman of the National Land Manager (NFA) has denied there were any suspicious land acquisitions in the Hungarian government’s land lease scheme.

“We have so far conducted more than 1,200 bidding procedures correctly,” Robert Sebestyen told Saturday’s daily Nepszabadsag.


“I think the affairs surrounding lease cases are exaggerated. 65,000 hectares of state-owned land [is involved], compared to the entire country’s arable land area, this is just above 1 percent,” he said in an interview.


Many people have complained that it was not locals who won the bids. The law says that anyone who lives within 20 kilometres from the land is a local, he said.


“There are rules, which we must follow. We don’t make the laws, nor are we an investigation authority,” he said when asked about a case in which a former Fidesz mayor candidate Attila Kanyok, who was also campaign chief for Fidesz in the local elections, changed his company’s headquarters just a few days before the bidding deadline and the property he gave as his business address was a derelict, uninhabited house.


Sebestyen said the reason why some invitations for bids had been withdrawn was that sometimes circumstances arise at some point which are detrimental to bidders. These could be legal problems regarding the given tract of land, he said.


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