Budapest, July 20 (MTI) – Ildiko Vida has resigned from her post as head of Hungary’s tax authority NAV, the economy ministry announced on Monday.
Until a successor is appointed, vice president Arpad Varga will head the authority, the ministry said in a statement.
Vida tendered her resignation on May 20 and relevant laws allow for two months of a notice period, it said.
According to the document, the new tax chief will be selected after key components in a planned reform to the authority have been implemented.
The statement said that Hungary’s economy had entered a new era of steady growth, which required changes in the structure of the tax authority. The new organisation will be more efficient and more customer friendly, and “more compatible with the new structure of the economy”, it said.
Authors of the document praised Vida’s role in stabilising Hungary’s public finance and integrating the tax authority with the national customs office. Under Vida’s leadership tax revenues had considerably increased and the illegal economy was reduced. It was also under her tenure that online tills were introduced to link retail shops directly to NAV’s system, thus removing opportunities for illegal deals.
Commenting on the news, the green LMP party suggested that Vida should have resigned much earlier, over what the party sees as NAV’s reluctance to launch a probe into major VAT fraud reported to the authority a year and a half ago. In a statement, the party insisted that “the government was covering up” for Vida ever since November 2013, and “did not make her resign before it saw as necessary in its war with oligarchs”. The government’s secrecy over the resignation, tendered two months ago, is unacceptable, LMP said.
The opposition Dialogue for Hungary (PM) said that the country would be “out of the frying pan and into the fire” if “another corrupted Orban-favourite” replaces Vida at the helm of NAV. PM insisted that the government is not interested in fighting corruption and it keeps putting off steps to identify those responsible for major graft.
According to the Socialists, Vida’s resignation is “a stage in the mafia war”. They also said that ruling Fidesz and Economy Minister Mihaly Varga “have lied all along”. Socialist deputy leader Zoltan Gogos said in a statement that the government had tried to “whitewash” Vida, who had been banned from the US under corruption charges. Vida’s resignation “equals pleading guilty” but it will “not resolve any of the shady deals”, Gogos said in a statement, and demanded a comprehensive probe. Vida’s resignation also “warns Fidesz that corrupted governments are doomed for failure”, he said.
Radical nationalist Jobbik deputy group leader Janos Volner said Fidesz and Vida should explain to the public the real reasons of her resignation. “We would be interested to know what’s behind her move”, Volner said at a press conference held about another subject on Monday. The prime minister and senior Fidesz officials had previously took her defence and Orban even said in connection with her ban from the US that he saw no evidence that could justify it.
Photo: MTI/Lajos Soós