István Ujhelyi has launched a data protection procedure against the National Hospital Directorate General (OKFŐ) after the institution refused to justify why it had chosen the given supplier company in connection with a three billion forint covidtest procurement, the MEP said at an online press conference on Wednesday.
The Social Democrat MEP recalled that during the Covid epidemic he had already pointed out on several occasions the rather peculiar and sometimes corruption suspicious ways in which government procurement was handled. According to Ujhelyi, the OKFŐ deal in question is one of these cases, too, the details of which should be clarified as soon as possible. At the press briefing, he said that the fact-finding press recently reported in detail that the National Hospital Directorate General had commissioned a consultancy company to procure antigen rapid tests, which had been founded shortly before the tender was announced, and its owner was formerly the leader of the Fidesz faction in Ferencváros, and even the personal secretary of a former vice-president of the governing party. Ujhelyi also recalled that, according to press reports, shortly after the three-billion contract for the covid tests was completed, the owner quickly sold the company, as the MEP put it, „Kaya Ibrahim-ed” to an 18-year-old boy living in the poorest slums of Borsod, referring to a famous case where a front man was used.
The politician said that he had submitted a public interest data request to the OKFŐ at the beginning of the summer to find out on what professional, or possibly economic, grounds the company had been chosen to purchase the rapid antigen tests, exactly how many and what type of tests had been purchased for this money, and whether the company had fulfilled the terms of the contract. Ujhelyi said that the OKFŐ had initially said after 30 days that the institution’s „performance of its emergency-related tasks would be jeopardised” if they responded within the legal deadline, and that they were therefore taking advantage of the special decree issued by the government and requesting a further 45 days’ extension. This deadline has also recently expired, and the National Hospital Directorate General has now told the MEP that the questions he asked „do not fall into the legal category of a request for data of public interest” and therefore will not be answered. The founder of the Community of Chance stressed at the press conference that he had today appealed to the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, as he had done earlier with success in relation to similar practices by the (former) Ministry of Human Capacities, and that he would take further legal action depending on the outcome of this data protection procedure.
„We cannot let it go that during an epidemic, certain circles of Fidesz are visibly and stinking from afar using public funds for their own benefit, while tens of thousands of people have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands have been put under care,” István Ujhelyi said, adding that it was amazing that we live in a „supposed democracy” where a state institution involved in such a transaction tries to hide its details by any means. „I don’t know when Orbán’s regime will end, but nothing can remain without consequences. We must give ourselves a chance to live in a normal, democratic country with consequences,” said István Ujhelyi.
Budapest/Brussels – 02/11/2022