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.
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.
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.
The government on Wednesday approved amendments to law No. 137/1994 tabled by Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra (Civic Democrats, ODS), which if passed will eliminate intermediaries from armament and equipment purchases by the Defense Ministry, and end the current practice where the ministry doesn’t usually communicate directly with suppliers.