Heads roll at Defense Ministry

Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra sacks MoD armaments division head Jiří Staňek amidst pledge to rid ministry of Barták’s influence

HOT TOP|Politics & Policy
István Léko | 03.12.2010
Alexandr Vondra

Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra (Civic Democrats, ODS) will recall Jiří Staňek, the head of ministry’s Armaments Division, effective Dec. 4. and has already named a replacement.

“The removal is another step toward the total replacement of top management at the Ministry of Defense,” Vondra told Czech Position.

Vondra said that Petr Szönyi, currently his advisor on procurement and acquisitions, will replace Staňek, but declined to comment publicly on his reasons for doing so.Staňek had advocated for the purchase of 90 armored vehicles from Iveco for 3.6 billion crowns — without holding a tender

Previously, however, Vondra pledged to purge his ministry of people close to his predecessor Martin Barták (Civic Democrats, ODS), the deputy finance minister put on unpaid leave while police investigate charges that he attempted to bribe William J. Cabannis, a former US ambassador to the Czech Republic.

Cabannis, now on the supervisory board of Czech truck maker Tatra, alleges that in February 2008 Barták sought a bribe in order to resolve problems Tatra was having with a subcontractor on a large Czech military order.

Staňek had advocated the purchase of 90 armored vehicles from Iveco for 3.6 billion — without holding a tender — during the time that Barták was at the MoD; the European Commission is now examining the contact for irregularites. 

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