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Mi történik az alapítványoknak kiszervezett közvagyonnal?

MerényiM // 2021.11.24.

Címkék: adatigénylés NAIH kekva

A kormány a választások közeledtével közérdekű vagyonkezelő alapítványokba (KEKVA) szervezett ki több száz milliárd forintnyi közvagyont. Az egyelőre továbbra is az állam támogatásaiból működő intézmények élére sok esetben kormánytagokat, képviselőket ültettek. A  néhány hónapja formálisan is létrehozott alapítványok azonban egyelőre nem átláthatóak, hiába kaptak alsó hangon 600 millió Ft állami ingyenes vagyonjuttatást, amit többüknél ingatlanokkal, sőt száz milliárdos részvénycsomaggal is megfejeltek. Az egyelőre csak a törvényekből kiszálazható vagyonátadások azóta is folyamatosan zajlanak. Gyors összesítésünk nyomán egyikük sem felel meg teljesen a törvényi követelményeknek, de ezek a közvetelmények sem teljesen egyértelműek az "innovatív" alapítványi forma miatt. A K-Monitor a Nemzeti Adatvédelmi és Információszabadság Hatósághoz (NAIH) fordult.


kozerdeku_vagyonkezelo_alapitvany_2.png

A mondat egy KEKVÁ-val folytatott levelezésünkből származik.
 

Az információszabadságról szóló törvény szerint a közfeladatot ellátó szervek kötelesek külön kérés nélkül közzétenni a rájuk vonatkozó legfontosabb közérdekű adatokat. Hogy milyen adatokat kell közzétenni, azt a törvény egyértelműen meghatározza. Közzé kell tenni például, hogy kik a vezetői, milyen utatokon lehet a szervhez fordulni, milyen szerződéseket kötöttek vagy éppen hogy kiket támogatak pénzzel. A "közzétételi listával" mindenki találkozhatott, aki hosszabb ideig elidőzött egy állami szerv (önkormányzat, állami cég, hatóság) honlapján.


Címkék: adatigénylés NAIH kekva

39 komment

New Public Interest Trusts: K-Monitor to File Amicus to Constitutional Court

MerényiM // 2021.11.23.

Címkék: english kekva

Constitutional concerns regarding academic freedom and the newly set up public interest trusts (PITs) are well known to the international community as the forced reorganisation of the University of Theatre and Film Arts has sparked criticism around the world.

A bejegyzés magyarul itt olvasható el / In Hungarian

 

nevtelen_terv_10.png

Sándor Fazekas, former Minister of Agriculture (currently MP), and the member of the board of trustees of the Marek József Foundation, a PIT operating the The University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest.

This June, MPs from the opposition turned to the Hungarian Constitutional Court (HCC) to challenge a law on PITs. They complained that the new legal entities, while using public money to perform their public tasks, were not bound by legal safeguards that would prevail in case of national property. MPs also argued that there are no rules on conflict of interests for PITs’ officials, which is not in line with separation of powers enshrined in the Fundamental Law of Hungary. 

After K-Monitor had traced back the lawmaking of the past two years and the activities of four Fidesz MPs, it filed an amicus curiae submission to the HCC to support the MPs’ arguments about the conflict of interest rules. 

The submission sheds light on how MPs István Bajkai, Sándor Fazekas, János Lázár and István Nagy had participated as lawmakers in the PITs’ set up and recapitalisation with state subsidies, and how they all took a seat on the PITs’ board of trustees. It must be noted that besides their MP mandate, Fazekas and Lázár are also assigned as government commissioners while Nagy is the Minister of Agriculture since 2018.

 

Legislative History of Public Interest Trusts

Date of Adoption

MP / Act

MP István BAJKAI 

MP and gov't commissioner Sándor FAZEKAS

MP and gov't commissioner János LÁZÁR 

MP and minister István NAGY

5 March 2019 

Act No. XIII of 2019 (first law on PITs)

No voting

 

Voted for adoption ✓

 

19 May 2020

Act No. XXXIV of 2020 (special law on PIT ‘Marek József Alapítvány’)

Voted for adoption ✓

Summer of 2020

MPs Bajkai and Fazekas assigned to the board of trustees of PIT ‘Marek József Alapítvány’ 

15 December 2020

Act No. CXLII of 2020 (special law on PIT ‘Agrár- és Élettudományi Egyetemért Alapítvány’)

Voted for adoption ✓

Winter of 2020

MPs Lázár and Nagy assigned to the board of trustees of PIT ‘Agrár- és Élettudományi Egyetemért Alapítvány’

27 April 2021

Act No. IX of 2021 (second law on PITs)

Voted for adoption ✓

Act No.VIII of 2021 (third law on PITs)

Voted for adoption ✓

27 September 2021

Act No. CIII of 2021 (law on funding of PITs including that of board of trustees)

Voted for an urgent reading of the bill

Voted for adoption ✓

Voted for an urgent reading of the bill

Voted for an urgent reading of the bill

 

Is this even lawful? 

Pursuant to the statutory law, holding of different public positions is absolutely lawful as a very recent legislation on the PITs has abolished all previous conflict of interests rules. The change was supported by the MPs who now personally benefit from the new law. From now on, there is no conflict of interests if somebody holds a position in the National Assembly, in the Government and also bears membership in a PITs’ board of trustees. There is also no provision on lawmaking either which excludes MPs from voting on a bill whose consequences they are involved in.  

Apart from the fact that conflict of interests rules lacking leads to eliminate separation of powers, holding of different public positions carries corruption risks as well. Since PITs may receive funding not only from the Hungarian state but also from the corporate world or even foreign states, members of the board of trustees like the four MPs might be engaged in fundraising and lobbying activities. This entails a high risk of corruption

 

K-Monitor is of the view that the law contradicts the separation of powers doctrine as the appointment to the board of trustees is incompatible with a mandate as public official. The legal framework now challenged before the HCC serves clearly Fidesz’s aim to control all entities in public. For the time being, the HCC has not scheduled the case to deliberate, so there is still no obstacle to holding even three different positions in different branches of government.

 

K-Monitor strives against corruption and promotes the transparency of public spending in Hungary. Support Us!

 

 

Hungary's bluffed solutions to improve its funds management system

orsivin // 2021.11.17.

Címkék: english RRF

The European Commission has not yet approved the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) submitted by the Hungarian Government in mid-May. This would be the condition for Hungary to have access to the billions disbursed by the EU to address the effects of the COVID pandemic. The protracted decision carries a political message: the Commission is not convinced by the reform plans of the Orban Government regarding anti-corruption and the rule of law.

 

nevtelen_terv_3.png

In our previous blog post, we addressed how the Recovery Plan presented by the government has ignored the recommendations that the European Commission and the Council have repeatedly made over the years to strengthen the country's anti-corruption framework.In this post the EU we examine the institutional safeguards with the Hungarian funds management system.

 

Összeférhetetlen KEKVA-arisztokraták?

MerényiM // 2021.11.15.

Címkék: alkotmánybíróság összeférhetetlenség k-monitor kekva

Júniusban ellenzéki országgyűlési képviselők csoportosan fordultak az  Alkotmánybírósághoz a közfeladatot ellátó közérdekű vagyonkezelő alapítványok (KEKVA-k) szabályozása miatt. Azt kifogásolták, hogy az új alapítványok bár állami pénzből látnak el közfeladatot, mégsem kötik őket azok a törvényi garanciák, amik biztosítanák a nemzeti vagyon védelmét. A képviselők emellett hivatkoztak arra is, hogy a KEKVA-k tisztségviselői esetében gyakorlatilag semmilyen összeférhetetlenségi szabály nem érvényesül, ezzel pedig sérül hatalommegosztás Alaptörvényben rögzített elve. Azóta a gyakorlatban is működnek az alapítványok - a bennük vezető pozíciót betöltő képviselők pedig egyengetik az útjukat. De vajon rendjén való ez?

 

nevtelen_terv_10.png

Fazekas Sándor, mint képviselő és mint alapítványi kurátor

 

A Transparency International Magyarországhoz hasonlóan mi is ún. amicus curiae beadvánnyal fordultunk az Alkotmánybírósághoz, hogy a képviselők indítványát kiegészítve felhívjuk a testület figyelmét a KEKVA-kra vonatkozó összeférhetetlenségi szabályok hiányának tarthatatlanságára.

Omnibus Bill Passed, Prosecutor General Polt to be Irremovable without Supermajority

tangentopoli // 2021.11.12.

Címkék: english

On 9 November, the Hungarian parliament with the supermajority of ruling Fidesz MPs adopted amendments submitted by the Government to laws on the judiciary, public offices, expropriation, privatisation of the housing stock and elections. This is a brief summary of the most important changes. 

The Government submitted an omnibus bill in mid-October to amend several laws. According to the preparatory documents attached to the bill, the main goal is ‘to adapt the laws to the changing social, organisational and technical conditions.

Removed only by a supermajority  

As reported in the Hungarian press in mid October, the Act on Parliament would be amended to expand the list of highest office holders who can be removed from their office before the expiry of their term only by a two-thirds majority. From now on, the mandate of the Prosecutor General, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and his deputies might be terminated exclusively this way (changes in red). 

 

Office

Term of Office

Gaining the Office by

Losing the Office by 

Incumbent

Start of their Mandate

Head of state

5 years

supermajority, FL Art. 11(3)-(4)

Supermajority and HCC, FL Art. 13

János ÁDER

2012, 2017

Members of the Hungarian Constitutional Court (HCC)

12 years

supermajority

FL Art. 24(8)

HCC plenary session, Act on HCC Art. 16(6)

15 members: Tamás SULYOK (2014), Ágnes CZINE (2014), Egon DIENES-OEHM (2011), Tünde HANDÓ (2019), Attila HORTVÁTH (2016), Marosi Ildikó HÖRCHERNÉ (2016), Imre JUHÁSZ (2013), Miklós JUHÁSZ (2020), Zoltán MÁRKI (2021), Béla POKOL (2011), László SALAMON (2012), Balázs SCHANDA (2016), Marcell SZABÓ (2016), Péter SZALAY (2011), Mária SZÍVÓS (2011)

President of National Office for Judiciary

9 years

supermajority

FL Art. 25(6)

supermajority

Act on Parliament, Art.  61/A(1) b

György Barna SENYEI

2019

President of Curia 

9 years

supermajority

FL Art. 26 (3)

supermajority

Act on Parliament, Art(1) c

András Zs., VARGA

2021

President of the State Audit Office

12 years

supermajority

FL Art. 43(2)

supermajority

Act on Parliament  Art. 61/A(1) d-g

László DOMOKOS

2010

Prosecutor General

9 years

Proposal by the head of state and supermajority 

FL Art. 29 (4)

Proposal by the head of state and majority 

FL Art. 5 (6),

New law:
Proposal by the head of state and supermajority

Act on Parliament  Art. 61/A(1) i

Péter POLT

2010, 2019

Commissioner for Fundamental Rights 

6 years

Proposal by the head of state and supermajority 

FL Art. 30(3), Act on Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Art. 6

majority, FL Art. 5(6), 

New law:
Proposal by the head of state and supermajority

Act on Parliament  Art. 61/A(1) j-k

Ákos KOZMA

2019

Governor of Hungarian National Bank

6 years

Appointed by the head of state upon a proposal of PM, FL Art. 41(3), Act on Hungarian National Bank Art. 10(2)

Revoked by the head of state upon the request of PM,

Act on Hungarian National Bank Art. 10(5)-(7)

György MATOLCSY

2013, 2019

FL: Fundamental Law of Hungary, ‘supermajority’: vote of two-thirds of all the MPs

 

Secretary of State Pál Völner reasoned the amendments concerning the status of Mr Polt and Mr Kozma are necessary because ‘the election of the highest officials also requires a qualified majority, so it is obvious that a termination of their mandate before its expiry can only be done with a two-thirds majority vote of MPs. The aim is to unify the voting scheme regarding the offices and to ensure the coherence of the legislation, since the appointment and termination of other prominent office holders require a two-thirds majority too, therefore, there is nothing that could justify a distinction.’ But the Secretary of State did not explain why such a coherence is needed for the first time now, in a year right before the general elections. 

It is apparent, however, that under the current Prosecutor General, criminal procedures with a high political profile have been stalled, and the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, the most important body for the protection of human rights in Hungary, is threatened with a downgrading by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions. 

The rules on the appointment of the leaders of autonomous regulatory bodies are also changing. Until now, the PM has had the power to appoint the president of the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority and the president of a new authority, the Supervisory Authority of Regulated Activities created this year. K-Monitor recently wrote about the launch of this institution and the concerns regarding the outsourcing of government competences to legally autonomous but Fidesz led authorities. From now on, only the head of state will have the power to appoint these, on a proposal from the PM. The head of state can refuse the appointment if the requirements set by law (e.g. qualification, certificate of good conduct) are not met or if they have a good reason to believe that the appointment would cause ‘serious disorder in the democratic functioning of the state organisation.’ The amendment seems as a formality, but in a case if relations between the head of state and a future government deteriorate - as happened in the so called media war of the early 1990s - the exercise of the presidential powers might gain importance.

 

Remuneration of court staff finally in line with that of prosecutors 

Following changes to the remuneration scheme of prosecutors this summer, now the legislation on judges and other judicial staff has been brought into line with the remuneration of prosecutors. As in the case of the prosecution office, a jubilee bonus will be paid upon 45 years of service in court. The amount of the bonus is equivalent to six months' salary for a judge. It is not clear, however, why the benefit schemes for the various members of the justice had not been unified earlier, and in particular, how a prosecutor could have been in a more beneficial position than a judge supposed to enjoy full independence.

 

Annexes getting cardinal 

Elected members of municipalities and mayors are required to submit asset declarations annually. They must also attach that of their spouse or partner living in the same household and of their children. It must be noted that the latter are not accessible to the public. The content of asset declarations is set out in Annex No. 2 to the Act on Municipalities. 

As part of the omnibus bill passed yesterday, a minor change has been made to the law. From now on, Annex No. 2 is declared to be cardinal law and it can be altered only by a two-thirds majority. Therefore, again, a supermajority of all MPs will be needed to rewrite what local representatives are required to declare as assets publicly. In our local transparency programme “This is the minimum”, we have written in detail about the problems of municipal asset declarations and have proposed a model legislation. 

While Annex No. 2 is detailed in content, it is considered outdated as the assets to be declared are hardly identifiable for the public. In addition, local representatives usually fill the asset forms set by the annex on paper, making scanned pdf-s difficult to process and compare.

Similarly, the bill makes the remuneration scheme of judges and court leaders to be cardinal too. The only way for a new parliament to change the remuneration of judges might be through a general increase of the salary base which all judges' salaries are calculated on.

 

Simplification of expropriation to speed up state investment 

The bill also amends the rules on expropriation. Under the previous rules, if the state or a municipality had expropriated an entire building, they were obliged to provide a proper replacement for those who had been living in the building expropriated. However, under the law now adopted, the obligation to provide housing as a replacement does not always apply. If the state or municipality makes a declaration before court that they do not have suitable property to offer and that it is likely that taking the necessary steps to offer other suitable property would lead to a significant delay in the investment, the court might release them of their obligations. 

The amendment was to enhance the protection of public investments. Under the adopted law, a financial compensation will continue to be available to those who are deprived of their property for the stake of public interest, but their leeway will be significantly reduced as the expropriator, typically the Hungarian state, will no longer be obliged to offer an alternative housing.

 

Forced privatisation of housing stock

After the head of state referred the law forcing the privatisation of the housing stock to the HCC, the HCC ruled this summer that certain elements of the law were unconstitutional. While the HCC found the privatisation of national property might be in line with the Fundamental Law, it did not accept the extremely low prices that the housing stock was supposed to be privatised for. 

In the light of the ruling, parliament has now adopted a new version of the privatisation, which narrows the scope of the assets and the persons entitled to exercise the right to purchase. A right to purchase now applies to apartments located on World Heritage sites, and only in cases when no such a right was offered on 30 November 1995, when the last wave of privatisation took place in Hungary after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Only those with a contract of indefinite time of five years or even more will be eligible to buy their home. The price of the flats is 15 percent of the market value for those who had had a tenancy before 1996. For those who became tenants later, the price is 100 percent of the market value.

 

Changing rules for democratic decision-making 

Right before the next elections in spring of 2022, the supermajority owned by the Government has amended the laws on electoral procedure and on referendums. From now on, there is no legal obstacle to hold a referendum nationwide at the same time as a parliamentary, EP or municipal election takes place. 

K-Monitor strives against corruption and promotes the transparency of public spending in Hungary. Support Us!



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