A report submitted to the government highlights greater success from in getting to grips with corruption last year from Czech authorities. But the favorable figures have been partly soured by the admission of one of the main players in the fight, the domestic intelligence service, BIS, that the political consequences of tackling some cases is a constraint.
The Ministry of Interior said in a report submitted to the government on Wednesday that 267 corruption cases were detected in 2011 and 201 cleared up, according to the server of the daily Lidové Noviny which said it had obtained the figures. This compares with 181 detections and 125 clear-ups in the previous year. The overall trend is for the near steady rise in detection and clear-ups since 2007 continuing.
But the upbeat figures have been overshadowed by comments by BIS that investigations of serious cases are complicated by “the political consequences and possible connections of local authorities in criminal acts,” the paper reports. In other words, the corruption fight is being braked by fears that it might implicate politicians and the so-called shady “godfathers” who pull the strings in regional and national politics.
The paper says that the document says links between local business and politics is often at the source of corrupt dealings with the phenomenon as rife in small local councils as large cities. Influential figures in local politics are powerful enough to blunt investigations or proceedings from other state bodies seeking to get to the bottom of corruption cases, it adds, citing the domestic espionage service.
The latest ministry report and comments seem to confirm an analysis by the Czech branch of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International published in April. It found that sentences for corruption cases dealt with by the courts between 2007 and 2009 suggested that many of the cases with were fairly minor with larger, more complicated dossiers, rare. When such larger cases did come up in court the penalties were relatively small or the cases were dismissed altogether, it added.