Prague High State Attorney Lenka Bradáčová has filed a complaint against state attorney Petra Pavlanová for foot dragging on important cases and neglecting her duties. Bradáčová, a widely respected anti-corruption crusader who was named to the post in July, has refused to provide any details as to the cases involved. She said State Attorney Pavlanová had grossly neglected her duties for months. The state attorney in question has not issued a public statement with regard to the case.
Interpol has been asked to provide assistance in the ongoing investigation into IZIP, the controversial electronic health records project which was abandoned earlier this year for being ineffective and overpriced, the daily Lidové Noviny reported on Saturday. The Czech anti-corruption police who are investigating a number of suspect deals in public procurement reportedly asked Interpol for assistance in investigating a foreign link. The ambitious electronic health records project IZIP launched in 2002 cost taxpayers 1.8 billion crowns and was scrapped by the government in May of this year as ineffective and financially disadvantageous.
Standard & Poor’s on Friday affirmed the AA- sovereign rating assigned to the Czech Republic. The agency said the country’s financial, monetary, and economic institutions remained robust and stable, enabling the economy to adjust quickly to adverse shocks. It warned however that the country’s favourable credit rating could come under downward pressure should the state of public finances worsen or should the country reverse the fiscal policies pursued by the current government.
Seventy-five political parties and movements will compete in the autumn regional elections, the CTK news agency reports. The Civic Democrats, TOP09, the Social Democrats and Communists have fielded candidates in all 13 regions as have a number of smaller parties not represented in Parliament such as Milos Zeman’s Party of Civic Rights, the Green Party and the Pirates’ Party. Voters will thus have a broader choice of candidates than they did in the last elections when they could chose from 60 political groupings.
Two hundred and thirty-three candidates are running for office in the Senate elections in which 27 seats will be contested in October. The elections will decide whether the opposition Social Democrats will regain their majority in the upper chamber. Only the Civic Democrats, Social Democrats and Communists have fielded candidates in all 27 constituencies. The first round of Senate elections will be held on October 17th and 18th together with regional elections. The second round will take place two weeks later. Elections to a third of the Senate are held once in two years.
Two Czechs, a father and son, were killed on an Austrian highway shortly after midnight after getting out to change a flat tire and getting hit by a truck. According to the APA news agency the accident happened on the highway to Salzburg. Apparently the car was parked correctly and the men put out warning triangles behind their vehicle before getting to work on the tire. One truck reportedly gave them a wide berth but another following in its wake failed to see them and hit them at full speed. Both were killed on the spot. Two other people in the car were unhurt but had to be treated for shock.
Eight hundred and eighty one people were ordered out of their homes in connection with domestic violence in the first seven months of the year, according to the White Circle of Safety, an NGO assisting victims of domestic violence. Restraining orders were issued on average for a ten day period to give victims time to re-think their situation and take measures to protect themselves and their children. According to the NGO 12 percent of the perpetrators are repeat offenders. Domestic violence has been perceived as a crime in the Czech Republic since 2004 and the law enabling perpetrators to be ordered out of their homes was passed in 2007.
The Social Democratic Party has suggested lowering the value-added tax on fuels after the cost of petrol and diesel fuel reached record highs this week. A survey showed the popular Natural 95 being sold for over 40 crowns per litre at stations around the country. The party’s shadow industry minister Milan Urban said soaring fuel prices would reduce the competitiveness of Czech firms and severely burden family budgets. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has rejected the proposal, saying it is nonsensical to artificially reduce fuel prices. He moreover pointed out that EU member states were bound by a 2005 agreement not to take such measures.
Ronald Adams, the chief executive officer of the Tatra truck company, who was recently arrested on suspicion of bribery has filed a complaint against the charges brought against him. Mr. Adams, who was later released on a court order is charged with offering a bribe to win army contracts. The main witness against him is reportedly Martin Barták, a former defense minister who himself is accused of corruption in a case in which Mr. Adams is a witness. Lawyers representing the Tatra truck company boss say the charges against him are an attempt to discredit him and claim that his detention was in violation of the law.
Lawyers representing the former central Bohemian governor David Rath have filed a complaint against the 14 million crown bail set by a district court. They argue that the amount is excessive in view of the charges against him and effectively prevents his release. Mr. Rath’s family and supporters have failed to raise the sum. The bail has also been challenged by the state attorney on the grounds that there are legally valid reasons to keep him in custody pending trial.