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.
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.
Czech Minister of Defense Alexandr Vondra has spoken of the vast arms sales and cooperation opportunities in Vietnam for Czech producers on a trip to the country as part of an Asian sales drive. He reportedly does not see any problems in making available the highly prized VERA aircraft detection system to Vietnam although export to China was previously banned. Vietnam and China have not been the best of friends for some time.
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.
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.
One of the jewels of Czech military and civil technology, Pardubice-based flight and military surveillance systems company ERA, has been snapped by by arms middleman and exporter Omnipol for an undisclosed sum. ERA was previously owned by US company SRA International, with the Czech company’s equipment sales, reportedly, closely followed in Washington.
Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra announced on Tuesday that he will recommend the cancellation of the Czech military’s contract for the delivery of four CASA transport planes manufactured by EADS — a subsidiary of Airbus Military — if all faults on the planes are not fixed by May 2012.
Czechs have come to expect inflated prices in public procurement deals, but even the most cynical observers were taken aback by the Defense Ministry’s purchase of four CASA C-295M transport planes. Nondisclosure clauses prevent scrutiny of the real costs, but Czech Position has obtained documents that confirm suspicions of grossly inflated prices on the CASA deal.
Leading Czech arms trading company Omnipol, which specializes in defense and aerospace equipment and acts as an intermediary in government-to- government sales, has been fined Kč 2.3 million for having sold the Czech Ministry of Defense defective anti-tank missiles in the late 1990s.