Slovenia’s anti-corruption commission finds PM Jansa in conflict of interest

 Slovenia’s anti-corruption commission finds PM Jansa in conflict of interest
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje April 4, 2022

Slovenia's Commission for Prevention of Corruption, KPK, said on April 4 it found that Prime Minister Janez Jansa acted in conflict of interest when voting on the appointment of Franci Matoz as non-executive director of Slovenia's Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) known as the ‘bad bank’.

The news broke just weeks before Slovenia is due to hold general elections on April 24.

“Jansa voted at the government session on July 22, 2021 to appoint Franci Matoz and Gregor Planteu non-executive directors of the management board. With this appointment, Franci Matoz gained material and non-material benefits in the form of remuneration and functions in the BAMC,” the commission said.

“As there is a business contact between the prime minister and Franci Matoz, who is the PM’s lawyer and the lawyer of the Slovenian Democratic Party, whose legal representative is Jansa, the PM voted to appoint Matoz in circumstances that mean actual conflict of interest,” it stated. The commission said that Jansa did not do anything to avoid this situation.

Jansa has served as prime minister since March 2020. He also held this position from 2004 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2013. Since 1993, Jansa has led the right-wing Slovenian Democratic Party.

The prime minister did not comment on the content of the KPK opinion, but responded in a tweet criticising the watchdog for failing to act on two cases that Jansa’s party have spent months criticising,

“It is important that the afternoon ‘fuss’ of the President of the Court of Audit Tomaz Vesel for paying €20,000 a month everything was ok for KPK, as well as with salaries and bonuses of €45,000 a month in a state owned company headed by Robert Golob,” the prime minister wrote.

Jansa was referring to Vesel’s work for football’s governing body FIFA, and Robert Golob, former head of the majority state-owned electricity trader Gen-I and currently Jansa’s main rival in the election campaign.

KPK started the procedure at the end of August last year on its own initiative, as it found a suspicion of conflict of interest in a preliminary examination of applications received in May regarding staff changes in the positions of executive and non-executive directors of the bad bank.

The findings of the anti-corruption commission are final, as the person in question did not initiate an administrative dispute against them.

The KPK said it rejects in advance all possible "unfounded and unjustified" allegations that the publication of the findings is in any way related to the current pre-election period, as they act in the same way in public announcements in all cases. 

 "We also emphasise that the commission did not decide when and how the relevant government session will take place. When the suspicion of violations was detected, the commission initiated the procedure and, like other procedures, conducted it in accordance with all established standards,” KPK added.

The commission wrote that the duty to avoid conflicts of interest is an extremely important, as it is one of the key pillars of the rule of law, trust in democratic institutions and transparency, equality and objectivity in public affairs and public funds.