One of the biggest aspects in the trial of Miklós Hagyó and the other 14 associates from the Budapest Transit Company (BKV) is a contract between BKV and a company called C.C. Soft Ltd.
C.C. Soft signed a contract with BKV on July 12th, 2007, though it was later modified on October 3rd of the same year, to build a visual passenger information system for the Szentendre surburban railway. That specific segment runs from Batthyány Square, which sits on rivers edge in Buda facing Parliament, to the Békásmegyer stop just on the fringe of the town Szentendre. The total distance is only 12 kilometers and about 30 minutes travel time on public transportation.
The information system consists of overhead monitors displaying arrival and departure times for trains along the route. Many of the public transit and/or national railway systems I’ve personally traveled on in my globetrotting have used technology like this.
According to the prosecution the contract, totaling approximately 100 million HUF (about $455,000.00 at time of writing), was not properly fulfilled. According to them, the system was and still is not properly functioning. Therefore, when former BKV CEO Zsolt Balogh allegedly signed the contract completion documents around December 2007 and subsequently signed the payroll forms which transferred the 18 million forints to C.C. Soft in two separate installments by February 12, 2008, he was committing forgery which resulted in “significant financial loss” to the public transit company.
This is seemingly very well for the prosecution.
Except that Zsolt Balogh just produced in court this Tuesday photos of the visual passenger information system and it appears to work fine.
Note: The overhead monitor displays the visual information system.
Another interesting twist to these accusations: The northeastern city of Debrecen, Hungary’s second largest, spent nearly double the amount (175 million HUF) on the same technology. Their information system, however, does not work.
Debrecen’s public transit company is not involved a trial for unnecessary contracts nor is their political supervisor facing 20 years in jail.