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.
Twenty-eight senators have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Andrej
Babis urging him to take steps enabling the Czech Republic to admit 50
Syrian orphans from overcrowded camps in Greece.
The signatories of the letter say that orphans in need deserve unconditional and immediate help and the Czech Republic should be among the countries offering this kind of assistance.
Among the signatories is the Speaker of the upper chamber Milan Štěch of the Social Democrats.
The prime minister earlier rejected the idea of taking in 50 orphans saying the country was not ready to accept migrants and this case was no different.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ wife Monika has resigned from the board of
Imoba, the company that owns the Stork’s Nest farm and conference centre,
over which her husband faces charges of EU subsidy fraud, the daily E15
reported on Monday.Monika Babišova left the board at her own request
without giving any reasons.
Prime Minister Babiš is suspected of having manipulated the status of the Stork’s Nest farm in order to gain a 50 million crown EU subsidy for the company which would otherwise have been out of reach.
Although Babiš has denies any wrongdoing, Imoba recently returned the subsidy in full.
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.
Government leaders ANO would have won elections last month on 28 percent of
the vote, suggests an opinion poll carried out by the Kantar TNS agency for
Czech Television. That figure is less than two points below what the party
received in October’s elections.
The Czech Pirate Party, who got under 11 percent in October would now receive 15 percent, the survey indicates. Thirteen percent of respondents in the poll said they would vote for the Civic Democrats.
The Communists and Freedom and Direct Democracy would receive 8 percent of the vote, the poll suggests, while the Social Democrats and the Mayors and Independents would get 6.5 percent, the Christian Democrats would get 5.5 percent and TOP 09 5 percent.
The leader of the opposition Christian Democrats, who is himself standing
for the upper chamber later this year, says his party will fight for the
Senate’s continued existence. Pavel Bělobrádek said opponents of the
the upper house of Parliament were out to destroy democracy, didn’t wish
to hear conflicting points of view and had a tendency to regard the Czech
Republic as a conquered land.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has described the Senate as a talking shop and his ANO party has proposed its abolition. The upper chamber came into existence in 1996.
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.
Jaroslav Staník, a former secretary of the extreme-right opposition
Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) movement, will be tried in court over
statements he made about Jews, Roma and homosexuals.
Staník has been charged with fomenting hatred towards a group of people, infringing upon their rights and freedoms, and denying the Holocaust while calling for genocide. If found guilty, he faces up to three years in prison.
According to eyewitnesses, including fellow MPs, Staník said last October that homosexuals, Roma and Jews should be shot at birth, and called for members of those minority groups to be gassed. He had allegedly been drinking heavily when he made the comments in the restaurant of the lower house of parliament.