STA, 28 February STA - Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek announced on Thursday the dismissal of Damir Topolko as the head of the Infrastructure Agency following the escalation of the scandal surrounding the dodgy tender for the Koper port rail track model.
The announcement comes after PM Marjan Šarec accepted on Wednesday the resignation of Environment Minister and former Infrastructure Ministry State Secretary Jure Leben while also calling for the resignation of Topolko.
The official video introducing the Koper-Divača "second rail" project
While Šarec had suggested that everyone else involved in the possibly rigged 2017 tender for the EUR 130,000 scale model should follow Leben's example, Bratušek said Šarec and her agreed today that conditions were not met yet to dismiss certain public servants.
Bratušek said the scandal also bore on other ministry employees, they however "cannot accept political responsibility for this fiasco"
As regards Topolko, Šarec and Bratušek both felt it was time to find a new name for the head of the Infrastructure Agency, which was responsible for the tender, carried out as a PR move for the EUR 1bn-plus investment in the Divača-Koper rail expansion.
"My predecessor Peter Gašperšič could have already done that," said Bratušek, adding a candidate had not yet been found to replace Topolko, who has ran the agency since mid-2015.
"But they didn't do it. I sense it was because that would mean revealing what is being revealed now: that the former leadership of this ministry was actively involved in the public procurement of this scale model, even though it is unusual for a minister or state secretary to interfere with public tenders," she added.
Bratušek said the scale model story had been inherited by her and that it was casting a bad light on the rail project that is now being managed differently and was on track on getting fully covered financially by the end of May.