picture of Gergely Karácsony

I will give 1 million forints out of my mayoral salary to anyone who can find any trace of abuse of public tenders regarding the use of property in the capital

-announced Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony (pictured) on social media to commemorate World Anti-Corruption Day.

To win the money, you have to provide proof that a public tender was clearly anti-competitive or otherwise tailored to a specific applicant. Karácsony said that they had nothing to hide, and that pro-government journalists, ordinary civilians, and even political parties could all give it a shot.

The mayor’s offer stems from accusations in the pro-government press over the past few weeks that the opposition-led Budapest City Council would sell the City Hall building under corrupt circumstances, but the mayor said no such thing had happened. Nevertheless, a committee was set up to investigate the matter at the instigation of government parties in the city council.

The mayor recalled that State Secretary Pál Völner is now facing bribery charges while György Schadl, the President of the Hungarian Judicial Enforcement Office, has been arrested.

Now it’s Fidesz’s turn to set up a Parliamentary commission of inquiry on the matter, but they haven’t done so. However, it could uncover interesting connections in the capital. For example, how did the key figure in the Völner case get a valuable piece of property on City Hall Street from a decision by the Fidesz mayor of the 5th district under unclear circumstances? So we have here an actual City Hall case and a good reason for Fidesz to make a real effort at fact-finding

-said Mayor Karácsony.

“Meanwhile,” he said, “The Russian-style ‘kompromat’ continues – Fidesz oligarchs wanted to snatch City Hall, but we won’t let them have it.”

It shouldn’t only be said on World Anti-Corruption Day, according to the mayor, that:

It is in Hungary’s eminent interest that the elimination of corruption be a condition for the country’s prosperity. And we also have to say what is now quite clear after the Völner case: the eradication of corruption begins here and now by changing the government.”

[Magyar Hang][Photo: Gergely Karácsony / Facebook]

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By Steven N.

Steven is the editor-in-chief of Hungarian Politics. He has been following the political scene in Hungary and the Central European region more or less since 1994.