Student Agency boss Jančura lashes out at corrupt politicians, flawed competition watchdog

Politics & Policy|Companies
David Kasl | 18.04.2012

Q: Do any of the smaller or new parties have a chance to be successful at the polls? 

JANČURA: Only Mr. Babiš — in the event that he steps forward and begins to provide leadership in terms of ideasOften the collectors can be identified because their name ends with “ík”:  Dalík, Tvrdík, while in southern Moravia we have Bělčík.’ . Then he can win the elections, but he has to persuade people that he will not engage in theft. I am staking on honor and say that he will not commit theft. I am convinced of that. Sadly, right now almost everybody is engaged in theft. Even the Social Democrats do in the regions.

If it were only a matter of the largest issues, such as requesting the greatest commission of all time for Czech Railways without a public tender, these get some attention!  But, for example, South Moravian governor Michal Hašek issues a public tender for ordinary telephoning, nothing too complicated. T-Mobile wins with a 6 million crown bid; in second place is Telefónica O2 with a 12 million crown bid. And then they just throw out T-Mobile. When theft is taking place even with such “micro-commissions” then one can’t rule out anything with such people. Naturally, the [regional] governors aren’t doing this just by themselves, as they have collectors to assist them. Often the collectors can be identified because their name ends with “ík”:  [Marek] Dalík, [Jaroslav] Tvrdík, while in southern Moravia we have [Martin] Bělčík.

Jančura says the rail complaint with the competition office should be an open and shut case but the office appears to be dragging its feet

Q: Is there a systemic deformation happening here or is it merely ongoing competition between different power centres utilising various connections?

JANČURA: I think that right now, many taboos are crumbling. Even thanks to Public Affairs, — and many stories will still emerge. Tomáš Pitr [ a Czech businessman convicted of tax fraud] is re-entering the scene and he too could make public revelations. When people cease being afraid, they start to talk. Our fund too receives remarkable tip-offs. It is important to realise that people who steal en masse have difficulty sleeping at night. For example, Janoušek, he really has a difficult life. Many people who work under these figures – administrative officials and even loved ones are simply upset by what [they see] goes on. Today, it is they who have the opportunity to send in documents, evidence, copies of emails and so on with absolute anonymity – and the fund can then work with these – naturally, it doesn’t automatically take accusations to be proof, but rather undertakes a process of verification

Q: Several commentaries published by Czech Position have expressed the view that the fund is reviving a tradition of people becoming informants in the communist-era tradition…

‘It isn’t about being an informant, but rather a spur towards responsibility’

JANČURA: It isn’t about being an informant, but rather a spur, a warning — the responsibility of each person is to go to the police with information [of criminal wrongdoing]. Or let it be sent to the media. This is a revolutionary time, and so long as we don’t rid ourselves of the greatest muck, any forms of surveillance, evidence gathering, or informing as you call it are in these times not only morally permissible but also necessary. In Switzerland, if you stop a car somewhere to urinate in a public place, then they too will send the police after you. Is that being an informant? They just want to have order in their country, and have the rules of the road followed. That is a good thing.  

Q: You identified the head of the Office for the Protection of Competition (ÚOHS) Petr Rafaj as a member of the “godfather” wing of the Social Democrats. At the same time, his office is the one that’s dealing with your input…

JANČURA: It is textbook case and they have never worked on anything more beautiful. Czech Railways was making a loss on the Prague–Ostrava line for a long time — one only need pick up an old newspaper and the proof is right there. They had a monopoly — that is provable as they ran this line exclusively. The ÚOHS should examine precisely this. When we too began operating trains on this line as RegioJet, Czech Railways reduced their fares by 30 percent below ours, which means that they are operating even further below cost. Despite this, the ÚOHS is not addressing this case…

Q: How do you explain that? 

JANČURA: Under the management of Petr Rafaj, the ÚOHS is serving as the greatest nest of corruption, the greatest dog in the manger. Rafaj has sought to influence various administrative officials in the organisation, which he is barred from doing as its head ‘This anti-monopoly authority is incredibly important in the battle against corruption, but in reality, it is actually assisting it through actions such as these.’because he is the second port of call to turn to when one is dissatisfied with the actions of the state authorities. Rafaj operates as a figurehead and can be influenced externally. For example, he allowed Czech Railways to purchase Railjet trains from Siemens for five billion crowns without a public tender process.

That was the handiwork of Mr. Janoušek, who was going around Prague boasting that within a week, an official — some Mr. Rudolecký or other — will fly out and Czech Railways will be able to buy the Railjets, from which he in all likelihood got a commission and shared it with the management, without a tender process. (Kamil Rudolecký was dismissed by Rafaj last August from his post as deputy head of the ÚOHS. According to Mladá fronta Dnes this was related to the sale of trains to Czech Railways – Ed.) In the end, even the mighty Škoda was unable to influence this process. This anti-monopoly authority is incredibly important in the battle against corruption, but in reality, it is actually assisting it through actions such as these. 

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