The saga of the President of the Court of Audit, Tomaž Vesel, continues. Vesel has still not submitted a document that would prove that the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption gave a positive opinion on his additional activity at FIFA. Boris Štefanec and the Commission have also not submitted the document. Regardless of the fact that the public has been waiting for the lost document for over a month, Štefanec still claims that he issued an opinion regarding Vesel’s activity, but that he did not issue a consent. It is also interesting that Štefanec confirmed, for the first time, that Vesel never mentioned the fact that FIFA will pay him more than 200 thousand euros per year.
President of the Court of Audit, Tomaž Vesel, is facing accusations due to his additional gainful activities performed at FIFA. The public believes that performing his “non-profit” activity at FIFA for 200 thousand euros per year is controversial. During Boris Štefanec’s presidency, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (Komisija za preprečevanje korupcije – referred to as the KPK) allegedly sent Vesel a written opinion, in which they stated that his position as chairman of the Commission at FIFA is not in conflict of interest of performing the role of the President of the Court of Audit. However, the document in question has still not been found by the KPK, and Vesel has also not submitted it yet.
It was not a consent, but an opinion!
The former President of the KPK, Štefanec, told Planet TV that when it comes to working for a world football association, which is what FIFA is, this is considered to be a sports activity. The official does not need consent, either from the employer or from the Commission for a sports activity, Štefanec said. However, since Vesel wanted to at least get an opinion on the matter, they wrote it for him. Sealed with a signature, however, Štefanec still emphasised that it was only an opinion, not consent. They never talked about the money, he said. Nevertheless, he says that the document should have been kept in the KPK archives. “I am very surprised that there is no document. The document should exist somewhere,” Štefanec pointed out.
Both Vesel, as well as Štefanec said they were surprised by the fact that the KPK does not have the documentation. “The then-President of the KPK, Boris Štefanec, assured me that this was a sports activity and thus an exception, according to the law,” Vesel said. And Štefanec told us: “Mr. Vesel sent a written request to the KPK, and we replied. In accordance with the provisions of Article 26, there is nothing that might prevent him from working at FIFA. This was a written opinion that I signed.” Meanwhile, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption announced that it had not found the document.
According to Štefanec, the KPK issued a written opinion, stating that taking into account the institutes from the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act, these two roles are not in conflict, so there are no reasons why Vesel should not perform both. He was specifically reminded, though, that he had to report a change in his assets every year, in accordance with the law, if the change was greater than ten thousand euros in one year, and so that is what he did. Due to the report he sent to the Commission each year, the KPK could have initiated the procedure of establishing incompatibility of roles on its own initiative if it wanted to, but such a procedure was never introduced. “A procedure like that can be initiated upon request of any KPK employee and not only upon request of the KPK President,” the former President of the KPK, Štefanec, told the media outlet sobotainfo.com.
Article 16 of the Court of Audit Act (Official Gazzette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 49/92 and 50/92 – corrected), which deals with the incompatibility of the roles in the Court of Audit with other roles, and the performance of certain works or activities, states that the role of a member of the Court of Audit, the role of the Supreme State Auditor, and the role of the Secretary of the Court of Audit (hereinafter the role in the Court of Audit) are incompatible with a role in a state body, local community bodies, political party or trade union; with the work in a state body, a local community body or a holder of public authority; with membership in the body of management or supervision of a company, public economic service, fund, institution or cooperative; with the performance of any profession or gainful activity that is incompatible with the performance of a public role by law.
Vesel and Štefanec believe that Vesel’s role can be considered a sports activity. The MPs from the SMC, SDS and NSi, on the other hand, point out that Vesel does not carry out any sports activities in FIFA, but an auditor activity. “Vesel does not meet the conditions for performing sports activities, as permitted under the Sports Act, as he is not a registered football player or a registered sports worker,” they pointed out. The MPs in the Committee on the Interior, Public Administration and Local Self-Government proposed to the President of the Court of Audit to resign from his position as President, due to the long-term incompatibility of the function with the gainful activity organised by FIFA.
The Committee on the Interior, Public Administration and Local Self-Government also proposed to the KPK to initiate proceedings on the basis of Article 13 of the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act, regarding the revocation of the powers of the Deputy President by the President of the Court of Audit. The Committee also convened an emergency meeting, in order to clarify Vesel’s additional activity, as they want to hear the opinion of all those involved in the matter.