The Czech Republic has significantly worsened its standing in watchdog
Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index for 2019.
Under TI’s criteria, the country picked up 56 points compared to 59 in 2018, falling from 38th to 44th spot in the ranking of 180 countries. In Europe, the Czech Republic dropped to 19th spot from last years’ 16th, lagging behind the EU average by eight points.
According to Transparency International, the drop is caused by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ alleged conflict of interest stemming from the multi-billion crown agro-chemical empire Agrofert he owned and later placed in trust funds and EU subsidies to the said holding.
Transparency International’s annual Index has rated countries by perceived levels of corruption since 1995 on a scale of 0 to 2100, with 0 being very corrupt and 100 being very clean.
The Czech transport minister has been sacked for mismanaging a tender to operate a new online system of motorway vignette sales. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš moved swiftly on Monday to stop a 400-million crown deal going ahead, accepting an offer from IT specialists who said they would work for free to produce a fully functional online sales system by next Monday.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has announced his decision to dismiss
Transport Minister Vladimír Kremlík over an overpriced tender to operate
a new online system of motorway vignette sales.
The prime minister said the 400 million crown contract awarded to Asseco Central Europe had been badly organised and put together. He said the matter had not been consulted with him and the transport minister had refused to accept the blame and abrogate the tender.
Mr. Babiš said he would put Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček in charge of the transport ministry portfolio. According to Czech Television President Zeman has accepted the prime minister’s decision.
UK journalist Misha Glenny is an expert on organised crime and cybersecurity and has written a number of books, including the hit title McMafia. He studied in Prague and did a lot of reporting from the city in the late 1980s, including during the Velvet Revolution. At present he also heads a committee guaranteeing the independence of editors and journalists at the Economia group, which publishes titles such as Hospodářské noviny and Respekt. Czech Radio’s Lenka Kabrhelová sat down with Misha Glenny recently and began by asking him about the nature
Councillors at Prague City Hall have decided to cancel the memorandum of
understanding with Lime, the company which has been renting electric
scooters across the capital since last autumn. According to City Hall the
move is only a signal to Lime that it is not happy with the company’s
approach towards fulfilling its commitments and not a ban on its Prague
Lime bikes, which are often simply left in the middle of the pavement after being used, have been described by many locals as an inconvenience since their introduction and City Hall referred to the company’s inability to prevent parked scooters from interfering with pedestrians as one of the ways in which it has breached the memorandum.
The Czech police have begun the criminal prosecution of ten individuals
connected to dubious public contracts issued by the government agency
CzechTourism, which were worth an estimated CZK 27.3 million. A former
manager of one of the agency’s departments has been charged with
manipulating public tenders, while the other nine suspects with bribery.
The information was provided by the spokesman of the National Centre for
Combating Organised Crime.
The news site SeznamZprávy reported on Friday that the name of the manager is Aleš Pangrác and the charges relate to propagation contracts. He has since confirmed that charges have been brought against him, but refused to comment further.
A police raid was conducted at the Ministry for Regional Development to which CzechTourism is subordinated last November.
The Czech police have proposed that the former regional governor of the
Usti region Jiří Šulc be charged with abuse of office, news site
Aktuálně reported on Wednesday. Investigators believe that Mr. Šulc
influenced the selection procedure for the director of the ROP Severozápad
who was responsible for allocating EU funds in the northwest of the
The benefactor of this action was to be Mr. Šulc’s acquaintance Petr Kušnierz, the former head of ROP Severozápad, who was sentenced to prison in 2017 for influencing grant projects in the region.
According to Aktuálně the police have also asked for criminal charges against Mr. Kušnierz’s predecessor in the position Petr Vráblík, who they believe took part in manipulating the grants.
Both Mr. Šulc and Mr. Vráblík have denied any wrongdoing in their previous statements.
Charges have been filed against a Prague prosecutor for allegedly taking
bribes in 2013 from a former judge, who is now in prison on corruption
charges, Czech TV reports.
The prosecutor, Pavel Suchánek, was acquitted in October on charges that he took a bribe from Ondřej Havlín, a judge who earlier served as an ambassador to Croatia and later Bulgaria.
Six others prosecutors had faced charges in 2013. Only one was sentenced.
Ahead of the 30th anniversary of China’s crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, Radio Prague spoke to Filip Jirouš, coordinator the China-watching think tank Sinopsis, about the politics behind some of the more controversial aspects of business dealings between the countries. A harsh critic of China’s sweeping Belt and Road Initiative, to which the Czech Republic has signed on, and the main Chinese investment vehicle here, CEFC, he further argues allowing Huawei to roll out the 5G network would be a disaster.