Norwegian news portal thelocal.no reported, that Hungary would press criminal charges against the non-government organisation distributing grant aid from Norway. The issue of the Ökotárs Foundation has been not only escalating a row with Oslo but has also drawn fire from the US.
In a statement the Hungarian government control office (KEHI) said, that a four-month-long probe into Norway-funded NGOs had revealed “irregularities” in 61 of 63 projects. KEHI said it would submit a criminal report against the Ökotárs Foundation, the main disburser of the funds, “on suspicion of mismanagement, budget fraud, forgery of private documents and unauthorised financial activity”. The Hungarian government has insisted Ökotárs and other civil society groups have a politically biased “left-wing” agenda, a claim refuted by the NGOs who say they are victims of a government crackdown on civil society that has included police raids.
Hungary’s cabinet chief János Lázár told reporters Wednesday that Ökotars had “failed to do its job” by using “subjective” criteria for evaluating grant applications, and had “abused the trust of the Norwegian government”. Ökotars head Veronika Móra told AFP her organisation denied the accusations.”If charges are pressed we will seek legal remedies in an independent court,” she said.
via thelocal.no photo: Headquarters of KEHI – Hungary Today (source: Szabolcs Horváth – hvg.hu)