The State Audit Office (ÁSZ) cannot take into consideration the political implications of its investigations, László Domokos, the head of the office, told news portal Origo in an interview on Tuesday in connection with the ongoing investigation into Jobbik.
Earlier this month, ÁSZ issued a report indicating that Jobbik would have to pay a 660 million forint (EUR 2.1m) fine for alleged party financing violations. In the spring, the party ran an anti-government poster campaign. The audit office conducted a financial investigation of the campaign, determining that Jobbik had received a sweetheart deal worth some 330 million forints in violation of the rules in force. It ordered the party to pay a penalty of double this amount.
ÁSZ’s job is to enforce the law and the body is politically independent in carrying out its duties, Domokos said. He said the audit office had become “the most transparent organisation” in Hungarian public life.
Domokos said Jobbik had refused to cooperate with the audit office over the course of the investigation and “a situation indicating criminal activity had arisen”. “This is why we came forward with a draft report,” he said.
He said Jobbik had already failed to turn over data on its finances pertaining to 2015-2016. “This was basically where the problems started,” Domokos said. “As a last resort, my colleagues asked to inspect the party’s data at its premises in late September and this was when they indicated their intention to inspect the documents pertaining to 2017 as well. And they are permitted by law to do that on the spot,” he added.
Domokos said ÁSZ had acted in line with the law over the course of its investigation into Jobbik.
In spite of this “we had not been provided data”, he said, adding that the office had filed a report with the prosecutor with a view to clearing up the matter.
Jobbik has launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay the potential fine.
On Friday, the party held a demonstration at the ruling Fidesz party’s headquarters to protest against what it called “the evolving dictatorial regime” of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and ASZ’s effort “to sideline the party”.
featured image: Jobbik party leader Gábor Vona, facebook.com/vonagabor