This Friday could be Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil’s (Civic Democrats, ODS) last working day in office, with party leaders showing no sign of supporting him in the face of a criminal complaint against him, the daily Právo reports, citing a source within the ODS. The complaint, filed on Monday, alleges Pospíšil and Supreme State Prosecutor Pavel Zeman abused their powers in replacing the Chief Prague Prosecutor Vlastimil Rampula with Stanislav Mečl.
Anti-corruption NGOs say the Civic Democrats (ODS) are trying to thwart legislation granting the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) powers to control and audit the finances of state and city-owned entities — powers that they say are essential to combat organized crime in the public sphere. The amendment’s author, MP Stanislav Polčák (TOP 09), supports the NGOs’ claim about obstruction by the ODS – its coalition partner.
PM Petr Nečas (ODS) and deputy PM for the anti-corruption strategy Karolína Peake (VV) held a press conference on Tuesday to announce successes in the government’s battle against graft, resulting in ‘tens of billions’ in savings. The opposition Social Democrats (ČSSD), however, point to the country’s drop in transparency rankings and claim the government is merely trying to cover up its failures.
Czech PM Petr Nečas’ (ODS) intervention in the brewing battle over the direction of state beer firm BudějovickýBudvar has failed to put a lid on the growing acrimony between its legal manager, the Ministry of Agriculture, and day to day boss, Jiří Boček. The dispute has been clouded by allegations that Minister Petr Bendl’s sudden interest in the state company is inspired by behind-the-scenes party interests.
Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has drawn up and delivered the first national integrity survey, assessing the possibility of Czech state institutions and sectors of society to combat corruption. It finds a large gap between most state bodies’ potential capacity to fight corruption and their actual action, with the best marks going to the institutions likely to have the least impact.
A bill on public tenders setting lower limits for tenders to be published and to be competitive was voted through the lower house of parliament on Friday with 101 votes in favor. A last minute change included the obligation for subcontractors of important tenders to be declared after the deal is signed. Sector specific opt-outs to the rules for energy companies and utilities have been maintained, for now.
Campaigners for a fast shake-up of current inneffective controls for policing of party and election campaign funding in the Czech Republic have been given a boost with Prime Minister Petr Nečas (ODS) calling for stricter rules to be in place within two years, in time for the next lower house elections. The Ministry of Interior had been working on a timetable of mid-2015, when most pending elections would have taken place.
Transparency International (TI) has launched an attack on changes being proposed by two former ministers to a flagship bill aimed at improving the way public tenders are conducted. TI say the changes clearly smack of lobbying and interest groups and would big contracts, in areas such as gas and electricity distribution and water services, would be immune from the obligation to be public and competitive.
The long-running eco-tender to clean up much of the Czech Republic’s serious pollution legacy should be stopped in its tracks, the Czech branch of corruption watchdog Transparency International said Tuesday. The anti-corruption group is calling for the government to open the three bids submitted a day earlier — but declare no winner — so that the country will not be slapped with another expensive arbitration case.