Would you rather give 300 thousand euros for a talk about apples, 3000 for a night hike, or a 30-hour (!!!) CV-writing workshop in a village of 650 people to help those in need? Well, you already financed all of the above.
This week’s contenders for the Funny Fraud Medal are really strong.
The DFT Hungária Kft. is a European success story. The members of the opaque company group keep bringing the light of hope in the most disadvantaged Hungarian regions – on EU money. Ákos Hadházy, independent MP and fierce anti-corruption whistle-blower keeps documenting their selfless activities.
The recipe: DFT (or one of its member companies) goes to any random village, tells them they will win EU-money for them – but the village has to hire DFT to carry out the projects. If the village says no, they go to the next village.
It is technically illegal to promise a tender to a particular company, but who cares in Hungary today? Certainly not the prosecutors – as long as the perpetrators are OfFidesz. In some cases the village breaks down the contract into smaller ones to avoid a public tender. Sometimes different arms of DFT pretend to compete. But usually, everyone knows not to compete – so DFT applies and wins.
Between 2006-2015, the DFT group won approximately 30 million euros worth of tenders for absurd things.
DFT doesn’t even bother to make a serious case for the spending of EU funds – but as Brussels central planners really just want to cover their own asses and don’t give shit about the point of the projects, these inane applications can fly.
1. 4-hour youth camp for 120000 euros
Karmacs (population: 800) and the neighboring villages were allowed to host 40 youth camps, of 4 hours each, “where children have the opportunity to get acquainted with small instruments”. 40 x 3000 euros.
DFT applied and won the money on their behalf – then collected it.
2. 3-hour car-free “day” in a car-less village for 2000
Gersekarát has 600 inhabitants and only two streets. It was also home of a “car-free” day that lasted for 4 whole hours. Allegedly.
3. Cutting down a tree (twice) for 2×3000 euros
This one is actually documented. The poor tree was ambushed by a bunch of kids and eventually fell.
Since it was a May Tree, the event probably didn’t need much financial encouragement from the EU. And yet, it appears to have been not one but two EU-funded events for 3000 euros each. As the tender documentation promises:
„May Tree and Mothers’ Day
The Applicant will organize the event on 1 occasion, for 35 people, for at least 4 hours. Content: Traditional May Tree standing in the center of the event, furthermore the participants can prepare for mothers’ day, where they will have the opportunity to weave baskets.”
And the other event that appears to be the same:
„May Tree dancing
The Applicant will organize the event on 1 occasion, for 35 people, for at least 4 hours. Content: On the occasion of the event a traditional May Tree standing and dancing, the organized programs will be further colored by basket weaving.”
3. Night hiking for 3000 euros
What would the inhabitants of Várvölgy do with their free time without the EU?
4. Lecture about the health-preserving apple of Zalaszántó for 300 000 euros
The 950 inhabitants of Zalaszántó have their health covered. DFT received 300 thousand (!!!) euros to invite the world-famous Dick Maurick to talk about apple farming.
Dick Maurick is so famous that Google doesn’t give any result for his name (apart from the four articles in Hungarian about this particular fraud).
The guy must be really good if he gets 300 thousand euro public speaking engagements without even a Google hit…
5. “1 person tells a tale” for 2000 euros per hour
The good women of Balatonföldvár can now breathe easily as they have been saved. A 100 000 euro series of events have been won for them – to inform them about breastfeeding. As part of the events, someone (allegedly) talks to them about the English-teaching method some Helen Doron (not off-topic self-promotion at all), “1 presenter tells a tale” and “2 presenters talk about issues that make mothers’ lives easier”
The other 50 hours of the event are not detailed here.
6. 30-hour (!!!) CV-writing workshop for 3000 euros
The good people of Rezi will be CV-writing pros by the time they finish the 30-hour workshop brought to them by the European taxpayer and the selfless efforts of DFT.
It is usually impossible to see whether these nonsense events have even been held – but it’s no better even when they were.
“This is how the tender system works today in Hungary. It (the company) comes to us and says, I will do it for you, I win it for you, but I will bring everything. And if not, I will go to the next town.”
–The Fidesz mayor of Szekszárd is 2012, about the reason why certain Fidesz public procurement tenders need to be overpriced. Recorded by Ákos Hadházy, former Fidesz local representative at a background meeting.
But before you get ideas – you would not be allowed to run this scheme in Hungary. This is a job for minor cronies. It ran in Fidesz-led towns and villages before 2010 (and everywhere today). Low-level, distant relatives and beginner Fideszniks still have to work relatively hard for a mere 30 million euros. Advanced oligarchs win a thousand times that – pretty much every day and without any actual work.