Czech Position has obtained a detailed price offer from November 2005 addressed to the Ministry of Defense’s armament section that supports allegations that the Czech Army got a raw deal on the purchase of four CASA C-295 transport planes. The document is part of the file upon which the police are charging ex-defense minister Vlasta Parkanová for allegedly violating her fiduciary duties in signing off on a 2009 deal.
Vlasta Parkanová (TOP 09) resigned on Wednesday as deputy speaker of the House after MPs voted 117 to 45 (with 14 abstentions) to lift her parliamentary immunity so that she can be prosecuted over a contract to buy CASA transport planes for the Czech Army, which were allegedly unneeded and deliberately overpriced by at least Kč 658 million.
Parliament’s immunity and mandate committee took no decision at their session Wednesday on the question of allowing MP Vlasta Parkanová (TOP 09), the former defense minister, to be prosecuted on abuse of office and other charges for her role in the 2009 purchase of CASA transport aircraft. But whether she can even be held liable for the ‘deliberately overpriced’ CASA contract is a matter of contention.
Czech anti-corruption police have asked for Vlasta Parkanová (TOP 09), the deputy speaker of the lower house of Parliament and a former defense minister, to be stripped of immunity so that she may be prosecuted on abuse of office and other charges for her role in the 2009 purchase of CASA transport aircraft. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) had looked into allegations of corruption regarding the CASA deal, which Brussels later said ran afoul of public procurement rules.
With billions of crowns in EU funding frozen, the Czech government is finally taking action. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) is planning to gather all the auditors responsible for controlling EU grant expenditure from various regions and regional bodies into a single unit within his ministry. According to a number of sources, however, the Finance Ministry holds its fair share of responsibility for misuse of EU funds and flawed surveillance.
Preparations were announced last week for a new law on the Czech civil service, which according to Prime Minister Petr Nečas will result in the state, regional, and local government administrations being depoliticized. However, the PM failed to spell out the planned law's role in the government’s wider anti-corruption strategy.
It appears Minister of Defense Alexandr Vondra (Civic Democrats, ODS) has at the last minute managed to avoid yet another scandal over military orders. Czech military intelligence planned to buy three Jackal armored cars reportedly for service in Afghanistan. Vondra cancelled the order on the grounds of the planned withdrawal of Czech troops from Afghanistan.
Czech anti-corruption police have accused another 11 people in connection with allegedly conspiring to inflate the price of tenders to repair buildings owned by the Ministry of Defense. Among those suspected of corruption is the ministry’s former head of acquisitions at the Military Housing Stock Administration, Roman Hošt, the daily Mláda fronta Dnes (MfD) reported on Tuesday.
A week after Czech PM Petr Nečas was derided for claiming his government has done more to fight corruption in its 18 months in power than was done in the previous 10 years, the tabloid Blesk on Thursday launched an online petition calling upon the police and judiciary services to thoroughly investigate corruption scandals — and published a list of “top 20” most-corrupt politicans and businessmen.
Martin Barták, widely presumed to have been charged by anti-corruption police for attempted fraud and bribery in the military’s Kč 2.6 billion order for Tatra all-terrain trucks in 2006, says the charges against him are flawed, trumped up and politicized — and key witnesses like ex-US Amb. William J Cabaniss can’t even recall basic details of the alleged bribery attempt.