Česky

Anticorruption barometer

Monitoring the progress of anticorruption measures in Czech Republic.

Total current anticorruption measures effectiveness

40.8%

Last update: 10/2017

Observation of Vladimíra Dvořáková

Reflection on 2017. The early Christmas time of hope and expectations of the arrival of the Saviour was linked – at the political level – with the appointment of the new prime minister in charge and his government. However, in the biblical sense no Saviour of the Czech politics arrived. Instead, the new government in charge, although so far without receiving the vote of confidence of the Lower Chamber of the Parliament, has already started to act. Nevertheless, the very first steps show the lack of professionalism and understanding of the functioning of the state following the adoption of the Civil Service Act during the previous election term. The key purpose of the Civil Service Act was to separate the political governance reflecting the election results from the administrative governance which should not be influenced by political whims. The discussion finally turned to the role of the so-called political advisors of ministers and got further obscured by the intervention of president Zeman. It was interesting to see him as well as representatives of other parties speaking almost in unison against this still relatively new Act and its main principle of separation of elected politicians and civil service servants. To recall the essential of this principle: political advisors, chosen freely by the elected ministers, should help their ministers to put forward their policies at the political level by communicating with MPs, party representatives and possibly important business or civic stakeholders; by contrast, top civil servants and their staff are there to ensure that policy proposals are well designed in substance, correctly evaluated and interlinked with corresponding policy areas. Political advisors come and go with their political masters whereas civil servants stay to ensure professionalism and continuity of the functioning of the state. Thus, on the one hand, the departure of political advisors after the elections as a result of those elections is natural and should not be described as „cleansing“ of the civil service, as it appeared in certain media. On the other hand, the refusal of some of the new ministers to have their own political advisors undermines the separation of political and administrative level in the state administration from the other direction. These ministers send a message that they do not distinguish between political and managerial functions. However, the roles of ministers are political by their very nature and they cannot be exercised in a purely executive way. It is not the fault of the new government that the full implementation of the Civil Service Act has not yet been accomplished, but it is suspicious how quickly the new government started to exploit its gaps to regain political control over the state administration to the lowest possible ranks. In this context, the proposals in the government programme to change the Civil Service Act as well as the Public Prosecution Act and the idea of single public investment office. Whether those proposals will lead to less or more corruption opportunities remains to be seen, close monitoring of those proposals by the public will however be necessary. Taken from the other perspective, the government programme declaration promises a number of policies which look at the first sight positive: transparent electronic auctions of state assets, digitalisation of public services, tendering smaller individual public contracts instead of big and more complex ones, a bill on lobbying, better whistleblower protection and, once again, the extension of competence of the Supreme Audit Authority. The Constitutional Court issued in December a highly commented decision on compliance of the electronic registration of transactions subject to VAT in which he set out in detail its views on how legislation with wide social and economic impacts should (not) be prepared and enforced. The very end of the year was tainted again by the Storknest affair. The European Antifraud Office (OLAF) issued its long awaited report on whether the EU funding of the construction of this farm allegedly controlled by the current prime minister in charge Mr. Babiš was fraudulent. Although the contents and the conclusions of OLAF’s report in this case were not disclosed by the end of the year, the fact that it was sent to the state prosecution office and that the Ministry of Finance refrains from its publications suggest that it may bring further troubles to Mr. Babiš.

Expectations for 2018. The Storknest Farm affair which has grown from corruption seeds and which affects the prime minister in charge Mr. Babiš will determine the movements on the political scene also in the first month of 2018. This month will be politically extremely hot due to the occurrence of multiple important events at the same time: the presidential elections, vote of the Lower Chamber to lift the immunity of the MP and Prime Minister Babiš and his key aide, MP Faltynek and the vote of confidence by the newly elected Parliament to the newly established government. Whatever the outcome of these events will be, one can expect that strong emotions will flood the public space which will result in further polarisation of the electorate and the parties in the Parliament. Under such circumstances it will be extremely difficult to build a consensus on how the country should be effectively and democratically governed. Citizens can only hope that the Czech democracy and its constitutional institutions will survive this test without being damaged to much and that we will not enter the Polish or Hungarian path striding away from the principles of liberal democracy and the rule of law. The 1 January 2018 the law introducing the registers of beneficial owners of legal persons and trustfunds will enter into force. Although this law was designed in a way that transparency of beneficial owners is reduced to the bare minimum, it is an important step towards reduction of corruption spaces. The agreement between the Council and the European Parliament reached in December 2017 obliging Member States to open the beneficial owner registers to the general public has the potential to bring the reform of transparency of ownership of legal persons and trustfunds to a successful end.

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Areas of interest – current state

1. Control of politicians

Effectiveness:
25.3%
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2. Transparent financing of political parties

Effectiveness:
61.3%
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3. Non-corrupt and professional public administration

Effectiveness:
56.6%
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4. Transparent and effective public investment

Effectiveness:
35.8%
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5. Abolition of anonymous ownership

Effectiveness:
21.0%
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Number of articles about corruption in the Anticorruption barometer

Total: 5458
Last month: 148

Areas of interest – over time

Latest articles

2018-01-17 Česko přemýšlí, co udělat s dalšími miliardami z EU
(Blahoslav Hruška, Cekapozice.lidovky.cz)
http://ceskapozice.lidovky.cz/cesko-premysli-co-udelat-s-dalsimi-miliardami-z-eu-fvq-/tema.aspx?c=A180116_143525_pozice-tema_houd
2018-01-17 Senátor Veleba odešel z rozhovoru pro DVTV. Nedokázal vysvětlit, kdo platí kampaň Zemanovi
(DVTV, Ihned.cz)
https://ihned.cz/c1-66019780-senator-veleba-odesel-veselovskemu-ze-studia-nedokazal-vysvetlit-kdo-plati-kampan-zemanovi
2018-01-16 Podezřelé miliardy čínské CEFC v Česku. Rozhodnutí ČNB vrhá další stín na Zemanova čínského poradce
(Robert Břešťan, HlidaciPes.org)
https://hlidacipes.org/podezrele-miliardy-cinske-cefc-cesku-rozhodnuti-cnb-vrha-dalsi-stin-zemanova-cinskeho-poradce/
2018-01-16 Podnikatelé řídí z daňových rájů nejméně firem za pět let
(ČTK, Zpravy.e15.cz)
http://zpravy.e15.cz/zahranicni/ekonomika/podnikatele-ridi-z-danovych-raju-nejmene-firem-za-pet-let-1342260
2018-01-15 Desetinásobně předražené posedy. Dotace na lesy byly nehospodárné, zjistili kontroloři
(ČTK, Euro.cz)
https://www.euro.cz/udalosti/desetinasobne-predrazene-posedy-dotace-na-lesy-byly-nehospodarne-zjistili-kontrolori-1390101
2018-01-15 Kdo podporuje Zemana? Nedohledatelní dárci, zbrojař Strnad i známá spojka na Rusko
(Eliška Hradilková Bártová, HlidaciPes.org)
https://hlidacipes.org/podporuje-zemana-nedohledatelni-darci-zbrojar-strnad-i-potomek-carskeho-dustojnika/
2018-01-15 Kontrola mýtného: Doprava dostala „za uši“ za vysoké náklady
(Michal Pavec, Cekapozice.lidovky.cz)
http://ceskapozice.lidovky.cz/kontrola-mytneho-doprava-dostala-za-usi-za-vysoke-naklady-pnj-/tema.aspx?c=A180112_135303_pozice-tema_lube
2018-01-15 Registr smluv pod lupou: užitečný nástroj pro občany a strašák korupce
(NFPK, nfpk.cz)
http://www.nfpk.cz/aktuality/5293
2018-01-14 Novela služebního zákona: náměstci a představení jmenovaní na 5 let, superúředník bude pod vládou nebo premiérem
(Jiří Reichl, Ceska-justice.cz)
http://www.ceska-justice.cz/2018/01/novela-sluzebniho-zakona-namestci-predstaveni-jmenovani-5-let-superurednik-bude-vladou-premierem/
2018-01-12 Další milionová pokuta pro vnitro za JŘBU – rozbor rozhodnutí ÚOHS
(Jiří Reichl, Kurzy.cz)
https://www.kurzy.cz/zpravy/442979-dalsi-milionova-pokuta-pro-vnitro-za-jrbu--rozbor-rozhodnuti-uohs/

Latest parameters changes

10/2017   #41 Limitation of monetary donations for elections and from natural persons only
.

10/2017   #42 Monetary donations from account to account (transparent)
The Act on elections to the Lower Chamber of the Parliament, as amended as of 1 January 2017, obliges political parties to keep a special transparent account for the purpose of the electoral campaign and pay electoral expenses from this account. The Act does not allow provision of funds and other benefits for the purpose of electoral campaign from trust funds nor from foreign legal persons.

10/2017   #43 Identification of natural persons directly covering the costs of electoral advertisements
The Act on elections to the Lower Chamber of the Parliament, as amended as of 1 January 2017, requires that the electoral advertising and also electoral billboards identified the person who commissioned it, prepared it as well as the political parties or independent candidates.

10/2017   #44 Online disclosure of contracts and invoices for electoral advertisements
The Act on elections to the Lower Chamber of the Parliament, as amended as of 1 January 2017, obliges political parties to publish on their internet website the overview of financial transactions registered on the special transparent electoral account, however, these published information about the transactions registered on the account will not enable the identification of individual services, for example, the payment for a billboard in a specific locality, which were paid from this special transparent account.

10/2017   #46 Court appointed expert for financial management of a single electoral campaign
The Act on political parties nor the Act on elections to the Lower Chamber of the Parliament, as amended as of 1 January 2017, do not foresee the transfer of the financial management of the electoral campaign in to the hands of a thrd qualified person. The control of financing of the electoral campaign will take place only after the elections which, as was evidenced in the past elections, is not able to ensure the observation of rules on financing of electoral campaigns, despite the obligatory rotation of auditors after five years.

08/2017   #70 A better law on financial control in management of public funds
The proposal of the Act on management and control of public finance, which should replace the existing dysfunctional Act on financial control in public administration was returned by the Upper Chamber to the Lower Chamber of the Parliament for the final vote. The Act does not include crucial mechanisms for an efficient system of internal audit or reduction of duplicit and ineffective inspections and checks. The Act diverges from the European and international audit standards applicable to the public administration. At the same time, the conflict of interest in spending of public funds as well as the independence of the audit body is not dealt with sufficiently