Prime Minister Petr Nečas (ODS) told a news conference on Wednesday he had ousted Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil he had lost confidence in his fellow party member’s ability to manage his ministry and its finances, over a request for an extra Kč 1 billion for the Prison Service at a time of belt-tightening. But sources say it was Pospíšil’s shake-up of the judiciary system and failure to quickly appoint a top prosecutor to Nečas’ liking that led to his sacking.
The Czech Republic’s reputation has been tarnished by the judiciary branch’s failure to cooperate with the Swiss investigation into the massive asset-stripping of mining group MUS (now Czech Coal) in the late 1990s. Czech Position has learned that, from the Swiss perspective, judicial authorities here also appeared to have been deliberately uncooperative in the Gripen jet fighter probe.
In May 2005, Qatari prince Hamid Bin Abdul Sani al-Thani was sentenced to 30 months in prison for paying for sex with 16 Czech minors, four of whom were also under the age of consent. Some two months later, however, he was repatriated following the intervention of then justice minister, Pavel Němec, who along with ex-supreme prosecutor Renata Vesecká, are under investigation.
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.
It has become a tradition that during the Karlovy Vary film fest big deals are sealed and the groundwork for political decisions laid. In the Grandhotel Pupp café and on the golf courses one can see the unprecedented concentration of politicians and public servants, top judges, bankers, entrepreneurs, lawyers and lobbyists. While they regularly meet in Prague, at the KVIFF things happen faster.
The coalition government can be best characterized as a “basket of crabs,” as the French would say. One bright exception is Pavel Zeman’s first 100 days in office as supreme state prosecutor. He is looking into some old cases — focusing on the Čunek, Gross, Drobil and OKD affairs — and although it is too late to reopen them, lessons can be learned over what went wrong, writes commentator Jan Schneider.
The Civic Democrats (ODS), although the main partner in the coalition government, have two crucial problems: limited access to the levers of power and a weak party leader, Prime Minister Petr Nečas. Meanwhile, the powerful Ministry of the Interior, which deals with sensitive issues like the ProMoPro and Barták cases, is under the control of Public Affairs (VV) – the smallest party in the coalition.
The public prosecutor has ordered anti-corruption police to investigate whether there was a cover up of, or complicity with alleged corruption in the State Environmental Fund (SFŽP). The corruption affair has already lead to the dismissal of fund chief Libor Michálek and Environment Minister Pavel Drobil’s resignation; now the prime minister and interior minister are under investigation.