STA, 28 August 2020 - The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (KPK) has launched an investigation after preliminary findings indicated the risk of corruption in alleged wrongdoing of Agriculture Minister Aleksandra Pivec, commission president Robert Šumi told the press on Friday.
The investigation has been expanded to include more persons and several events, as well as several instances of suspected wrongdoing, he said, adding that the launch of the investigation in itself did not preclude its outcome.
The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), of which Pivec is member, said it supported the move because this was the only way to learn all the facts about the minister's trips to the coast.
Pivec herself has not responded yet, but the Agriculture Ministry told the STA she was currently on a sick leave after feeling frail on Thursday and being rushed to the ER.
The ministry added that the statement forwarded to the media by DeSUS also reflected Pivec's views.
The KP's move comes weeks after media reports that Pivec had taken trips to the coast which were partly personal in nature and featured family and party members but were paid for by a municipality and a company that hosted her in her capacity as minister.
Šumi did not reveal which parts of the integrity act had allegedly been violated by Pivec and did not say how many people are being investigated.
He said that this was not an isolated case, adding that the commission had had received several similar reports and that all cases would be treated the same.
Albert Nabernik, a member of the commission, explained the course of proceedings, saying that a report was followed by a preliminary check.
An investigation is launched only if the latter reveals there is ground to investigate. The person investigated is then informed and the investigation started. "The purpose of the investigation is to either confirm or refute the allegations."
The head of the DeSUS deputy group, Franc Jurša, told the STA he had expected such a decision of the KPK. He also noted that the outcome of the investigation would not change the deputy group's negative opinion of Pivec and their decision to ask her to step down.