LMP suspects abuse of EU funds at National Public Service University
Budapest, April 27 (MTI) – Budapest’s National Public Service University (NKE) allegedly received European Union funding on multiple occasions for the exact same projects and engaged in overpricing and unjustified spending, the co-leader of green opposition LMP said on Thursday.
Ákos Hadházy told a press conference that EU auditors had raised the alarm over suspicions of “extremely serious abuses” at the university, which he said also raised the question of the potential criminal responsibility of the institution’s lector, András Patyi.
Citing press reports, Hadházy said the NKE had used 3 billion forints (EUR 9.6m) from a 17 billion forint EU contract to cover personnel costs, which he said was enough to finance 10 months’ wages for their staff of 740.
As another example, he said the university had earlier won funding for a 4.3 billion forint IT upgrade whose costs ended up being exactly equal to the estimated value of the contract. This is only possible if the costs of the project had been discussed with those in charge of its implementation beforehand, he said.
He said LMP would file a public data request for all of the university’s application documents for EU funding along with its contracts and the applications’ feasibility studies.
Hadházy said the reports of the abuses at the NKE could explain why Patyi, who also heads the National Election Committee, “thwarts referendums” that could “make the government feel uncomfortable”.
The NKE said in a statement in reaction that it denied and rejected LMP’s accusations and would pursue the matter along a legal avenue. The statement said that the LMP lawmaker had launched a deceitful and politically motivated attack on higher education institutions dealing with public administration, defence and law and order.
Concerning the project mentioned by Hadházy, the NKE said the EU’s authorities had found no kind of irregularity. The training of around 100,000 officials is taking place with funding contributions by the EU and continuous information exchanges take place between the financing organisations and the NKE, it added.
A press conference will be held on the project’s results so far in the first half of May, the statement said, adding that LMP representatives would be welcome to attend.