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Budapest Fidesz group welcomes audit of Chain Bridge renovation

The Budapest group of Fidesz welcomes an audit of the renovation of the city's landmark Chain Bridge, to be carried out by the government control office (KEHI).

Zsolt Wintermantel, the head of the Fidesz-led group, told the press during a Wednesday meeting of the Budapest city assembly that he hoped the audit would reveal “the entire chain of who received money through companies involved in the mass production of fake invoices”.

He said it was unacceptable that nobody had explained why a new public procurement tender had been invited for the project, resulting in less work undertaken for 5 billion forints (EUR 13m), a higher cost than that contained in the original public procurement tender. The company which won the tender with the backing of the city mayor had made “large financial transfers to firms connected with the mass production of fake invoices”, he added.

Wintermantel said it was welcome that a civil organisation, in this case Transparency International, was involved in checking the related public procurements, but he criticised the fact that the organisation had charged 5 million forints for this work and yet “it did not achieve anything”. He added there may have been “external pressure” to pay the organisation.

At the same time, he said he was willing to believe that Gergely Karacsony, the mayor of Budapest, was not personally culpable for any wrongdoing.

In response to a question concerning whether a committee would be set up by the city to investigate the case, he said Karacsony tended to be “silent when it comes to every unpleasant issue”, so it was unlikely that such a committee would be set up.

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