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The Questionable Morality Of The Political Project Of Robert Golob

In our country, there are companies and net taxpayers who have to respect the rules of financial transparency and pay high taxes or risk being targeted by law enforcement authorities and lynched in the media. And then there are people like Prime Minister Robert Golob who choose for themselves whether or not to follow the rules of the game – without having to fear a media pogrom.

Despite predictions to the contrary, Robert Golob has unfortunately turned out to be a man who cares about nothing other than his own interests. In the year and a half that he has been in power, we have seen countless examples of this, and he is very flexible and pragmatic. The general strategy of his advisers is to buy media (and thus public) support on issues that are important to citizens (healthcare, social justice, etc.) but do not have a beneficial impact on the business and material interests of the Prime Minister. Then there are the issues (energy in relation to solar energy) that are really important to Golob personally. On these matters, his performance as chief of the executive branch of power is shrouded in fog, with media advisers doing everything to keep controversial matters under wraps.

This is hidden in the background, and with the incredible sympathy of journalists and editors in the mainstream media, he does not have to worry about anyone digging into his financial secrets. Thus, it is still unclear whether or not his identity was really stolen in Romania as the then-head of the Gen-I energy company. Despite some clear indications that he was lying and misleading the public, the matter has been swept under the rug. The same is true for his assets and his business – these are matters in which the media do not interfere until, more by chance than not, something does come to light. And this is also the case with his ownership of the company Star Solar.

The problem arises when the Prime Minister’s company does business with the state

It would be unfair, of course, to require (even the most exposed) politicians to give up ownership of a company or several companies when they take office. This would be incompatible with both personal and economic freedom. The problem arises when a politician’s company, especially if we are talking about a member of the ruling coalition in the executive branch of government (which by definition manages the assets of the state), does business with the state. At a principled level, this means that it is doing business with itself. Such a politician’s intentions may be entirely honest, he or she may meet the strictest conditions for doing business, and he or she may apply for public tenders, but there remains a suspicion of a conflict of interest.

Such a politician should be aware that the moment he takes office (in this case as Prime Minister), the public has the right to know every cent not only of his assets, but also of the assets and businesses of his family members. Any slightest doubt as to whose interests the Prime Minister is working for must be removed. That is the price he or she must pay when holding public office. And the right to privacy should not play a role here. That is why the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (KPK) should have an easy job when it comes to the latest case of Robert Golob – his company is proven to be doing business with the state. The reasons why he became the owner of the company (divorce from his ex-wife, Jana Nemec) are completely irrelevant. All the more so if it is revealed and proven that Nemec was only a straw owner of the company for the purposes of Golob’s cover-up. And all signs point to the fact that she was just that. But you can believe that the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption will have already found an explanation to exonerate the Prime Minister, as indicated by the official list of who the company Star Solar is not allowed to do business with – only with the Prime Minister’s office.

And there are even more “coincidences” concerning the Star Solar company. The state-owned company Borzen, with which it did business, is headed by a former employee of the Gen-I energy company. Golob’s company is not in the business of breeding chickens or producing corks for the fizzy drink Cockta, but in the business of selling electricity. And not just any electricity, but electricity generated from his four solar power plants, electricity favoured by the Prime Minister, who last year announced the construction of giant solar power plants. That’s why, as chief executive, he is executing manoeuvres to ensure that the whole country is “in the sun”.

Golob is a lot like Janković

As the most powerful man in the country at the moment, when he took office, he had to make sure that things stayed the way he envisioned them. He controls the processes related to the energy sector and puts his own people in key positions. Looking back, one can see that Golob has developed most of his political activities on the personal impact of ensuring that the right policies are in place to suit his interests. Or, to put it differently, his main earnings no longer come from the operations of the state-owned Gen-I energy company, where he was the President of the Management Board, but from his influence on regulatory policy and the granting of certain concessions to individuals in his circle. His political project is, therefore, not very different from his private one. In this respect, he is very similar in Slovenia to the Mayor of Ljubljana, Zoran Janković, and internationally to the former Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš.

How will the case play out? In free and democratic countries with high ethical standards and a low threshold of tolerance for private dealings with net taxpayers’ money, the Prime Minister would immediately resign, even if the competent authorities eventually found that Golob had not violated a single semi-colon in positive legislation. For a top politician, who is at the helm of the management of state assets and literally decides the fate of the people, clinging to the letter of the law is not enough. It is moral principles and ethical sense that must guide his political actions. What Golob is doing, however, is demoralising not only politics but the state in general. In the absence of morality, however, no politician, no state or public official, has the right to demand anything from citizens (especially private citizens).

Kavarna Hayek

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