Vlastimil Rampula, chief of the public prosecution service in Prague, may be out of a job in two weeks: His office faces serious allegations of obstructing investigations into prominent corruption cases. Among those leading calls for Rampula’s ouster is the new chief public prosecutor, Pavel Zeman. But Justice Minister Pospíšil tells Czech Position dismissal is risky step — and could worsen the situation.
Minister for Regional Development Kamil Jankovský has finally pushed his flagship proposal to combat corruption in public tenders through the Cabinet. But some short cuts getting the proposal ready could come back to haunt him as it now wends its way through Parliament.
In a damning secret document meant for the eyes of a select few fellow party members, Public Affairs (VV) de facto leader Vít Bárta, the ex-transport minister at the center of the “cash for loyalty” scandal, promised that those who obtained money for the VV from public tenders and sponsors would get bonuses equal to 20 percent of the funds secured, daily Mladá fronta Dnes reported.
The district of Prague 10 on Thursday lodged a criminal complaint with the prosecution service against the investment firm Key Investments, which the district entrusted with Kč 200 million in 2010 to form an investment portfolio. The district’s leadership claims the brokerage committed criminal negligence its management of the public funds.
A former manager of the U.S.-owned Austrian arms firm Steyr Mannlicher, Stephan Szücs, had given more details of his claim that bribes were sought in connection with the delivery of 107 Pandur armoured personnel carriers for the Czech military. Szücs claims that the demand for a “provision” of €18 million was made at one of the meetings with Marek Dalík, an adviser to former Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek. The US ownership connection means the SEC is now said to be investigating.
Radek John, chairman of Public Affairs (VV) — the smallest of the three coalition parties — called a press conference on Wednesday to announce his resignation from his freshly-created government post as Deputy Prime Minister for the Fight Against Corruption. John’s announcement spurred predictions that the downfall of the coalition government is imminent.
Nine mayors from the Ústi nad Labem and Central Bohemia regions and two businessmen have been charged with embezzling funds provided to repair damage caused by flash floods in 2009, police’s anti-corruption unit spokesman Roman Skřepek announced on Wednesday. The mayors have also been charged with abuse of public office.
The brokerage Key Investments has blamed Czech Position for causing problems complicating the return of Kč 200 million that the Prague 10 administration entrusted to the firm. On Monday, the assembly of Prague 10 discussed developments, or lack thereof, with district leaders’ attempts to get the public funds back from the nontransparent firm.
Anti-corruption police are investigating a contract worth almost Kč 50 million issued by the Prague administration in 2010 for the promotion of the Czech capital abroad that was won by Prague-based advertising company Onyx Advertising — the sole bidder — news server Aktualně.cz reported on Tuesday.