Government office presents report – Budapester Zeitung – 2024-04-17 11:46:35

Chain Bridge Scandal

In the so-called Chain Bridge Scandal, Budapest’s Fidesz is demanding clear answers from the mayor. Meanwhile, the general contractor rejects all allegations as being made out of thin air.

The Government Audit Office (Kehi) has submitted its report reviewing the use of funds used to renovate the Chain Bridge. The Kehi worked with figures provided by the capital, the traffic center BKK, the general contractor A-Híd Zrt. and another three dozen companies involved in the major project. The databases of the Public Procurement Authority (KBH) and the NAV tax office were “tapped” by the authorities.

Overpriced construction project?

According to the Kehi report, the tender was already tough: In August 2020, the BKK invited companies to a negotiation process, all of which were involved in a cartel agreement from 2016: At that time, supposedly excessive invoices were issued for the construction of the M4 motorway. In February 2021, BKK concluded an execution contract with A-Híd Zrt. worth 18.7 billion forints net. This amount reached two and a half times the 2018 estimated amount for the project. By the time the completely renovated bridge in the heart of the capital was technically handed over in July 2023, the BKK had paid out a net 19.3 billion forints (50 million euros) to the contractor.

In the documents, the Kehi discovered parallel payments totaling 1.5 billion forints that were made by A-Híd to the company Sunstrike Kft. Such money was transferred in smaller amounts around 40 times and was received in cash within a few days by the lawyers identified as the payees. The authorities are investigating these matters on suspicion of criminal offenses.

Based on the statements in the Kehi report, Budapest’s Fidesz is demanding that mayor Gergely Karácsony explain himself on the facts. The city ignored a contract negotiated by the previous mayor István Tarlós to conclude a new contract that increased the price by 5.5 billion forints, while at the same time the technical requirements decreased. A-Híd continually transferred amounts to Sunstrike Kft., whose managing director is currently in custody. A total of 1.5 billion forints were withdrawn from the accounts, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Accusations made out of thin air

The general contractor immediately responded to these allegations. The A-Híd flatly rejects the allegations formulated in the Kehi report and has no understanding of the conclusions drawn there. On the one hand, they cooperated with the authorities in every respect and did not try to cover up anything. More than 1,300 documents relating to the course of the project, subcontractors and accounting were handed over. Sunstrike Kft. has nothing to do with the renewal of the Chain Bridge. However, there had been an advertising contract between the two companies for years, according to which the marketing company produced film material for the construction company, which filled around 500 DVDs (!). This contract explains the transfers that were incorrectly attributed to the Chain Bridge Project in the Kehi Report.

#Government #office #presents #report #Budapester #Zeitung

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.