The Supreme Court has ruled that a regional court acted illegally six years ago in authorising the wiretapping of investigative journalist Janek Kroupa, who was digging into alleged corruption in a multi-billion crown military tender. The ruling further sets important precedents in requiring judges to explicitly justify any police surveillance of journalists, which infringes upon their right to protect their sources and the Constitutional right to freedom of expression.
Czech police have charged four suspects with corruption over a contract to
restore the Kuks castle in East Bohemia. The historical Baroque complex was
restored between 2013 and 2015 at a cost of more than 322 million crowns
(12 million euros). Most of the money came from EU funds.
A police spokesperson said the tender offer was allegedly written to match the winning bid by a consortium comprised of the Hochtief construction company and the Gema Art Group. If found guilty, the suspects face up to eight years in prison.
According to the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ), three major Czech hospitals
bought medical supplies and medicines without seeking competitive offers
between 2014 and 2016, in violation of the public procurement law.
Inspectors found that during that period Brno University Hospital (FNB), Motol Hospital (FNM) and the Central Military Hospital (ÚVN) also paid wildly different amounts for identical drugs and devices purchased from the same supplier.
Apart from examining the procurement process, the Office is also examining the pay-out of bonuses to the respective hospital directors.
The police have begun investigating claims by the ex-wife of former prime
minister Jiří Paroubek that he illegally acquired millions of crowns
while he was the leader of the Social Democrats, iRozhlas.cz reported,
citing a state attorney.
Petra Paroubková made the allegations in an interview last week. The pair are currently divorcing.
Mr. Paroubek says his ex-partner is attempting to scupper his chances in Senate elections in October, when he will be standing as an independent.
The ex-wife of former Czech prime minister, Jiří Paroubek, has accused
him of illegally acquiring millions of crowns when he was head of the
Social Democrats. Petra Paroubková made the allegations in an interview
for Televize Seznam.
For his part, Mr. Paroubek says his former partner is attempting to undermine his chances in Senate elections in October, when he will be standing in the Ostrava constituency as an independent.
Petra Paroubková also said she knew other politicians who had made far higher illegal earnings than her ex-husband.
Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch has dismissed the director of Na Bulovce
hospital, one of nine people facing prosecution for having allegedly
conspired to manipulate public contracts to Prague hospitals.
Among the accused is the director of Na Františku hospital, who resigned of his own accord earlier this week. Minister Vojtěch said in a statement on Wednesday he intends to review all supply contracts to public hospitals and revise contracts which the health ministry itself manages directly.
Nine people have been detained on suspicion of manipulating contracts for
two Prague hospitals, Na Františku and Na Bulovce, the ctk news agency
Among those charged are the head of the Na Františku hospital Robert Zelenák, and influential north Bohemian entrepreneur Tomáš Horáček.
The anti-corruption police have been conducting raids on dozens of homes and medical institutions and old age home in Central Bohemia in connection with the case.
In response to numerous complaints with regard to abuse of the Czech visa system in Ukraine, the Czech consulate in Lvov has moved to simplify and speed up the process. Steps have been taken to root out corruption by local middlemen who blocked the registration system, making it virtually impossible for anyone else to sign up for months. Applicants will now be able to book by phone, eliminating the long waiting lines outside the consulate and the waiting time for a visa should be reduced from 130 days to 75.
The Czech government has moved, not for the first time, to try and regulate lobbying. The country at the moment is one of the handful in Europe that had no specific set of rules governing what lobbyists can do and how various decision makers, whether they are elected politicians or civil servants, can interact with them.
Criminal charges have been filed against a judge at Prague’s Supreme
Court. Ivan Elischer is accused of bribe taking, abuse of office and
preferential treatment, the chairman of the court’s panel told
journalists. Mr. Elischer has been at the court since 2013 and specialises
in serious drug cases.
He was arrested by the police’s national organised crime unit in a raid at the court building on Tuesday moring. Neither the police nor the state attorney’s office have revealed any details about the matter.