Lázár to discuss grant scheme with Norway minister


Head of the Prime Minister's Office János Lázár said Wednesday he would invite the Norwegian minister in charge of Norway's Civil Fund for talks in Hungary to reach a new agreement, cabinet chief János Lázár told a press conference on Wednesday.

The cabinet chief said there is a need for a new agreement as an investigation concluded by government control office Kehi proved that Ökotárs and other foundations distributing the grants have "abused the trust of the Norwegian government". Lázár insisted that Ökotárs had "failed to do its job" and violated Hungarian laws when distributing funds from Norway.

He said he would propose to distribute the grants through either the government or civil organisations other than Ökotárs, citing the findings of the Kehi investigation. The government control office said in a statement sent to MTI earlier on Wednesday that it had completed an investigation and revealed irregularities in 61 of 63 projects that had received funding from the Norway Grants.

The office said it would submit a criminal report against Ökotárs, the NGO responsible for disbursing Norway Grants funding, on suspicion of mismanagement, budget fraud, forgery of private documents and unauthorised financial activity. Lázár said that he will publish the Kehi report, taking into account personal rights and respective legislation, and will send it to Norway's ambassador in Budapest too.


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