The government appointed Juraj Bugala, lawyer of oligarch Ivan Kmotrík, as the public procurement authority ÚVO deputy chairman. Bugala co-owns Hedin, a company that in turn owns a 49% stake in Infra Services, which runs most activities of the public water utility, BVS. The Žilina District Court recently launched an investigation into whether Kmotrík is the real final beneficiary of Infra Services. Hedin used a €17m loan to acquire its stake in Infra Services, and Bugala refuses to disclose the source of the loan.
Transparency International Slovensko, an NGO, condemned the appointment, due to Bugala’s ties to Kmotrík, who has manifold relations with the state. It also pointed out that the government has already weakened public institutions by appointing former minister Ľubomír Jahnátek as head of the utilities regulator ÚRSO and aiming to appoint finance minister Peter Kažimír as central bank NBS governor.