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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Minister Vasko Simoniti spoke about the drama caused by the resigned Igor Samobor

By: Nina Žoher / Nova24tv

On Monday last week, Igor Samobor resigned from the position of former director of SNG Drama. Because he claimed that the resignation was not due to personal reasons, but due to the Ministry’s delay in renovating the building. In the show Odmevi on RTV Slovenia, Minister of Culture Dr Vasko Simoniti clarified the circumstances and explained why the renovation had not really started yet. “Those who spoke about the resignation of Samobor are convinced that the Ministry or the Minister is most responsible for this. Samobor claimed in his resignation letter and even today I understood him in such a way that he did not receive any answers, and that he had no contact with me. We met four times,” Simoniti explained.

According to Minister Vasko Simoniti, Igor Samobor was one of the first directors he met, even last year during the worst covid crisis. “This affection has never diminished. Of course, this project, which is very large and very demanding, raises some questions that the Minister, when he met with the content, as well as my colleagues, rightly asks certain questions.”

The Minister emphasised that it would be good if we informed the people at the beginning and told them how much this project is worth. “Even today, we have not heard what the prices are. At first, this project was worth about 60-62 million. They never said it was without VAT, so 75 million. Then it dropped to 45 million, again excluding VAT, which means about 58 million. Look, these are extremely high numbers that also require precise answers from the one who is funding it. This is a country for which the Minister is responsible.”

The Ministry reacted to the flood and paid 330 thousand euros for the rehabilitation

As it was said in the article on the topic of the resignation of Samobor that certain maintenance was not provided, Simoniti explained that as much as 4 million euros had been earmarked for maintenance in previous years. In the last three years, 2 million 300 thousand euros for the maintenance of the facility so that it could be worked on. “There was talk of water, of a great flood that affected the whole of Slovenia and also Drama. It was said that the Ministry did not react, which of course is not true. It is necessary to inform the public that the Ministry reacted and immediately sent an expert and paid 330 thousand euros for the rehabilitation to be carried out, and now we will see how to proceed,” Simoniti emphasised.

Simoniti said no funding was cut, no favour was withheld or renounced. He emphasised, however, that he wants to have a transparent and clear picture of why something is going on. “That is why we met four times. Also, with Mr. Samobor. Once Mr. Samobor asked and demanded that they see each other face to face.” As Simoniti said, he was not in favour of the latter, that is, to meet face to face for such million-dollar values. “Just why? Another thing, the audit was done, Mr. Samobor said that it was already known in September. I do not know where from. An audit came to our house on November 18th. On the 19th, it was signed, and we got our hands on it. It is interesting that Mr. Samobor resigned on Monday,” he emphasised.

The public has never been aware of what this big investment means. As a result, it has raised certain concerns with the Minister responsible for funding. Simoniti explained that this house has not solved more things regarding the plots, which are not clear, and the investments would go deep into the ground, which would only undermine Drama and the opposite Deutsches Haus. He warned that such an investment could lead to cracks and water intrusions in the house next door and elsewhere. The Minister therefore demanded that he receive clear and unambiguous explanations and guarantees that they would give him certainty as a basis for continuing the project.

The audit noted that it was not possible to pinpoint or evaluate project prices

In the last national programme for culture, 21 million were reserved for the renovation of the Slovenian National Drama Theatre. “We simply summed it up temporarily, because around the figure of 43 million, the audit also states that it is not possible to determine precisely, to evaluate the prices of the project. If such a price is set, I am afraid that when we get to the contractor, there would be larger numbers and an unknown number of annexes. When I was at these meetings, together with Mr. Samobor and Mr. Arhar, who was the president of this council, he also said clearly and unequivocally that only a clean situation, completely clear and transparent, can lead to a building permit and the continuation of the project, which is called the restoration of Drama,” Simoniti explained.

Samobor expresses some of his emotional states, which are merely propaganda

According to Simoniti, Samobor expressed his emotional states throughout the case, which are somehow not very valuable propaganda tricks, he is convinced. “We are not going to talk about emotions here. After all, it is the responsibility of the state to finance all this, because it is not a private project. Not even of a Minister, much less of a director. Nowhere in Europe do directors build houses, but it is politics if you want. They do it with a good and thoughtful entry.”

The programme value coefficient did not decrease

When asked if it would be easier to cooperate with another director, Simoniti answered that he had nothing against Mr. Samobor. Far from it. According to him, the Ministry’s support was also expressed in the fact that the programme value coefficient was raised from 8 to 9 this year as well. “A year ago, the Mister even expressed fear that this number would fall. No, vice versa.” Simoniti points out that there are great connoisseurs of theatrical art in this house. “I have no problem recognising and establishing the Slovenian National Theatre’s championship in our national space.”


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