Crime level stagnating in Hungary, says Polt
Budapest, December 10 (MTI) – Reported crimes and the number of perpetrators have more or less stagnated between 2009 and 2013, averaging between 400,000-450,000 cases each year, the chief public prosecutor told parliament today.
In his report on the past five years of his authority, Peter Polt said that most of the crimes committed had been theft or burglary, violations of law enforcement, corruption and forgery.
Polt said that homicide figures had been decreasing until 2013, when it was somewhat higher, with 138 murders reported.
In terms of corruption, Polt said that the number of cases involving public officials or organised criminals had been on the rise. While in 2010, 481 graft cases were reported, the number had risen to 1,105 in 2013, he said.
The prosecutor’s office records an average one million cases each year and charges are raised in about half. Most of the procedures (96 percent) are completed, Polt said.
The opposition Socialists accused the public prosecutor of showing bias in political cases. Party spokesman Gergely Barandy said that whereas 99 percent of public prosecutors were doing a proper job one percent had become the “vassals of the governing parties”.
Polt himself is a Fidesz official first and prosecutor second, and applies double standards, he insisted. He noted that no proceedings had been launched into suspicious state tenders for tobacconist licences or land leases.
He also noted the timing of charges raised against certain opposition figures such as Gyula Molnar, a former local mayor in Budapest, who had been charged just days before this year’s municipal elections. He said Fidesz should amend the law annul his capacity to give orders to ordinary public prosecutors to withdraw or raise charges.
Radical nationalist Jobbik said the prosecutor was avoiding holding politicians to account with the excuse of procedural errors. Party MP Gabor Staudt said that ruling lawmakers appeared to be beyond the reach of the law on graft. Staudt also urged the prosecutor to address corruption charges raised by the United States.
The green LMP party’s co-leader Andras Schiffer insisted that privileged information from the office was leaked to the press from time to time. He also slammed the prosecutor for not acting against corruption.