A former employee of the state-owned forestry firm Lesy ČR has been charged with corruption in public procurement, the police said on Friday. The man, identified by the media as the firm’s former IT manager Jan Přibyl, was detained earlier this week. The investigation was triggered by the Finance Ministry which found last year the forestry firm awarded hundreds of millions of crowns worth of IT contracts to the same two companies over the period of several years.
Czech tax authorities have asked some 4,000 truck owners in the country to pay the taxes they owe on their vehicles, amounting in total to around 50 million crowns, a spokeswoman for the authority said. The authorities found that most truck owners failed to pay the road tax despite the fact that vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes are subject to taxation regardless of whether they are used for business. The Czech Republic each year collects around six billion crowns in road tax, which represents about 1 percent of total tax revenues, according to the daily Hospodářské noviny.
The Czech Food Inspection Office has warned there is still unlicensed and potentially dangerous alcohol on the market. In the third quarter inspectors checked out over 1,000 sales outlets and came across three which had alcohol without license stamps on stock. The warning comes ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations when the sale of alcoholic beverages skyrockets. Police say that in the wake of the methanol scandal which killed close to 40 people in the Czech Republic there could still be thousands of litres of dangerous, methanol-laced spirits on the market.
The Czech NGO called Give Our State Back on Friday filed a lawsuit against former prime minister Petr Nečas over his role in the controversial amnesty declared in January 2013 by then president Václav Klaus. In his role as the prime minister, Mr Nečas counter-signed the amnesty; however, the news website aktualne.cz reported Mr Nečas said he only signed the document in return for the president’s consent with some of his government’s legislation. The NGO believes Mr Nečas abused his power by agreeing to the deal. The amnesty of president Václav Klaus freed about 6,500 convicts and halted the prosecution of some long-running corruption cases.
The police have charged three foreign nationals over the murder of Latvian man whose body was found on the outskirts of Prague last week, a spokesman for the Prague police said. A Moldovan man and a Ukrainian woman have been detained and placed in police custody; the former has been charged with murder, the latter with a failure to report the crime. Another Moldovan national, suspected of taking part in the crime, is wanted by the police. If convicted, the woman faces three years in prison while the two men could land extraordinary sentence of 25 years.
Liberec beat Portugal’s Estoril 2:1 away in their final game of Europa League’s group stage on Thursday night, booking a berth in the competition’s knock-out stage. Liberec, who join Czech titleholders Plzeň in the spring phase of Europa League, have qualified for the knockout stage for the first time in the club’s history.
Czech basketball player Luboš Bartoň is leaving the top domestic devision club Děčín to play for Valencia in the Spanish Liga Endesa. The 33-year-old forward came to Děčín at the start of the season from the German club Phantoms Braunschweig; he played 16 games in the Czech league, averaging over 12 points per game. He returns to Spain where he played for various clubs between 2005 and 2012.
Czech swimmer Simona Baumrtová won the silver medal in 50 metres backstroke at the European Short Court Swimming Championships in Demark on Friday. The 22-year-old came in second in a new national record of 56.28 second, 0.29 second after winner Mie Nielsen of Denmark. The Czech mixed relay team took bronze in 4x50 metres medley, finishing third after Russia and Germany in 1:39.54.
The three parties of the emerging centre-left coalition have reached agreement on the future government’s policy programme. The Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats met on Thursday to give the document final approval in the wake of several changes. The policy programme, which includes proposed tax changes as of 2015, a hike in the minimum wage and scraps direct payments for medical care, will be released to the press on Friday. Social Democrat leader and the country’s likely next prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka is to brief President Milos Zeman on the outcome of the talks on Thursday evening.
Petr Gazdík from TOP 09 was elected deputy chair of the lower house on Thursday, completing the ranks of the chamber’s newly elected leadership. Mr. Gazdík, who failed to win enough support in a previous vote, was elected following an agreement between the emerging coalition parties. He was the only candidate after Tomio Okamura from the Dawn party withdrew his candidacy. The three other deputy chairs are Jaroslava Jermanová from ANO, Communist party MP Vojtěch Filip and Christian Democrat leader Pavel Belobrádek. The Speaker of the Lower House is Jan Hamáček of the Social Democrats who won October’s general elections.