Budapest, November 5 (MTI) – Opposition parties have called on Prime Minister Viktor Orban to immediately replace tax office (NAV) officials affected by the US entry ban.
Jozsef Tobias, head of the Socialist Party, called on tax office chief Ildiko Vida to resign after she confirmed that she was on the US blacklist, suspected of corruption. He told a news conference on Wednesday that if Vida fails to hand in her resignation then the economy minister, Mihaly Varga, should sack her without delay.
A statement by Vida confirming she was on the US blacklist is an “important but by far not sufficient” development in the case, the E-PM alliance said in a statement on Wednesday. E-PM added that Vida had insisted that “the government knew about the case”.
E-PM called on the government to reveal why “they lied, saying they had no information about the persons affected”.
Public trust in state institutions, especially the tax office, has been shaken, which is why Orban should intervene and replace the officials implicated, E-PM said.
The party also called on public prosecutor Peter Polt to start a procedure in line with a report submitted by E-PM.
E-PM’s co-leader Viktor Szigetvari told a press conference last week that Polt served the government’s political interests through his reluctance to launch an investigation in connection with the United States’ recent entry ban against Hungarian officials. He said E-PM would file a criminal complaint to force the prosecutor’s office to find out who the persons are and what cases of corruption they are linked to.
Green party LMP today called for a comprehensive screening of the tax office and urged Vida to quit her post. The party also demanded that the government take action.
The radical nationalist Jobbik party called on Vida to resign, saying it was the only way to relieve the tax office of the burden of being seen by the public as an organisation based on corruption. Asked about US charge d’affaires Andre Goodfriend raising the prospect of further bans, Jobbik lawmaker Gyorgy Szilagyi — referring to possible measures the US disapproves of — said that Hungary is a sovereign country and it should oppose any interference in its internal affairs or economy, be it plans to build gas pipelines or a nuclear power plant or intensify trade ties with other nations.
The leftist Democratic Coalition (DK) urged Orban to replace the tax office chief immediately. DK lawmaker Agnes Vadai said Vida had “exposed half the government” by saying that she had informed a government official about the ban, she said.
“Either Orban, or Varga, or [cabinet chief Janos] Lazar or [Foreign Minister Peter] Szijjarto lied when they said they had no information whatsoever about the affair,” she said.
The Hungarian Liberal Party called on Vida to resign on Wednesday. If she refuses to resign, then it is Orban’s responsibility to sack the tax office chief “embroiled in alleged corruption”, the party said in a statement.