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.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek’s (TOP 09) tactical offensive to prevent fellow party member Vlasta Parkanová from being stripped of her immunity from prosecution will likely end in defeat. Not only would it go against TOP 09’s stated principles, the opposition is united in wanting the ex-defense minister to face charges over the purchase of CASA planes for the Czech Army. Parkanová also should rather seek clarity from the courts, writes commentator Petr Nováček.
Hidden interests in camouflage uniform order? Or mere incompetence? The Ministry of Defense has ordered military uniforms that don’t meet army standards. The issuer of the tender worth over Kč 40 million failed to specify the requirements stipulated by Czech Defense Standard (ČOS) 108001, the technical specifications of which specify the shades and dimensions of military camouflage.
Two Czech officers are with an international force in the Sinai desert,Egypt, that has been surrounded by around 300 Bedouin tribesmen according to Czech Radio (ČRO). The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) force is mostly made up of Colombian and Uruguayan troops.
The Czech Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) unit of military trainers and artillery experts are to accompany Afghan soldiers in combat in the volatile Maidan Wardak province in central east Afghanistan. The unit’s commander, Martin Botík, says the mission will be the most challenging yet for his men.
Last November, Minister of Defense Alexandr Vondra said that Spanish aviation manufacturer EADS and the Czech arms trading firm Omnipol must deliver the four CASA planes purchased by the Czech defense ministry in full working order, including functional anti-rocket defense system, by end of May, or the order would be cancelled. On Friday, Vondra announced that EADS and Omnipol had agreed to the deadline.
Arriving in Washington for talks with US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Czech Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra (Civic Democrats, ODS), says he intends to propose extending the Czech military mission in Afghanistan by two years to coincide with the planned withdrawal date of American forces. At the same time, Vondra hopes to seal an agreement to open access to US military orders for Czech firms.
Members of an elite Czech police unit were detained in early January when trying to leave Iraq with weapons, including guns with silencers, Czech Radio reported on Monday. Pro-Baath Party media said the Czechs had then been allowed to leave because they were in fact mercenaries hired by the Shiite-dominated government to eliminate members of the Sunni opposition as part of a “death squad.”
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 police tasked with probing corruption and financial crime say they charged a three-year record high number of individuals last year as the damages of the criminal cases being probed almost quadrupted compared with 2009. The caseload remained at a near record level with the number of cases shelved without action falling, the (ÚOKFK) said in its report on 2011.