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.
Stripped of her immunity, Vlasta Parkanová (TOP 09) can now 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. Former police investigator Zdeněk Ondráček explains how her prosecution could ultimately lead to higher levels of responsibility for the nation’s politicians.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A project to build a hostel, hotel and car park at the Central Military Hospital (ÚVN) in Prague 6 was to serve as a shining example as the first successful public-private partnership (PPP) involving a national ministry. In the end, the project was scrapped after the Czech state had spent Kč 217 million on consultation fees. The question now is whether anyone will be brought to account.