Delo urges caution in arms deals

Ljubljana – The newspaper Delo notes on Saturday that there is a long history of scandals involving arms deals in Slovenia. Commenting on a government-to-government purchase of a transport aircraft from Italy, the paper says that the Defence Ministry has checked whether the deal could be carried out without an anti-corruption clause in the contract.

Given the past experiences Slovenia has had with arms deals, “the scepticism is legitimate and the expectation of transparency of transactions all the more understandable”.

The paper also comments on the purchase of armoured personnel carriers from US contractor Oshkosh, highlighting that the current contracts for this purchase – the first was signed by previous Defence Minister Karl Erjavec, do not contain an anti-corruption clause.

The anti-corruption watchdog has allowed this in this case, but when it comes to the Slovenia-Italy government-to-government purchase, the watchdog is objecting to a lack of such a clause in the contract.

“Military equipment purchases from the US and Italy are made on a ‘country-to-country’ basis, which should reduce the risk of corruption, but of course the mere fact that only government officials are involved in the deal does not rule out the existence of corruption risks.”

The Defence Ministry “has checked whether the deal with the Italians could be carried out without an anti-corruption clause in the contract”, notes the front-page commentary titled Fear of Rope.

“Folk wisdom says: a person who is stung by a snake is afraid of a coiled rope. In light of past experience of arms deals, caution against even something harmless that is curled up in a ball is understandable.”