Česky

Anticorruption barometer

Monitoring the progress of anticorruption measures in Czech Republic.

Total current anticorruption measures effectiveness

40.6%

Last update: 06/2017

Observation of Vladimíra Dvořáková

What happened in June? The game of evidence in corruption cases was continuing in its own way also throughout June. The never ending investigation of the Stork Nest case shows that obtaining relevant pieces of evidence is a difficult exercise, may be also because the recent opinions of courts on the admissibility of evidence in corruption cases is extremely convoluted and ambiguous. On the one hand, the Supreme Court annulled the decision of lower courts on the inadmissibility of certain evidence in the Rath case, on the other hand the Regional Court in Brno rejected the evidence of the Antitrust Office of the alleged cartel of construction companies which were accused of coordinating bids in a number of public procurement tenders. In this latter case, the Antitrust Office issued the highest overall fine in its history in the amount of CZK 1,66 billion (approx. EUR 63 million). Rigging public tenders by bid coordination is a well-known practice, but to prove it beyond reasonable doubt is nothing easy. Participants to such practice usually do not publicly announce the conclusion of an illegal bid coordination agreement. Similarly to the Rath case, one will have to wait for the decision of higher judicial instances on how evidence in such cases should be correctly assessed. Nevertheless, both cases show that the process of "immunization of corruption" is well managed by its actors: they managed to delay, obstruct, question and prevent the due course of corruption investigation. This is further reinforced by the aforementioned unclear decision practice by the courts. Irrespective of the outcome in both abovementioned cases, these cases give at least one positive message: state prosecution authorities have the courage to investigate politically sensitive corruption cases and cases involving big business players. In this respect, it is however no coincidence that the Czech Republic has in the long-term the lowest participation of small and medium enterprises in public procurement contracts. The most probable explanation of this fact is, as suggested by the Antitrust Office and several anticorruption experts, that public procurement in the Czech Republic is reserved only for companies, usually the big ones, which have a privileged relationship with local and regional politicians and have enough resources to bear the initial "corruption costs" in order to win later lucrative public contracts. This situation is also partly a result of the effort of a large number of politicians to prevent financial transparency in public spending and its control by the general public at all costs. The political farce around the adoption of the Act on register of public-private contracts and the reverse efforts to exempt as many public institutions and public enterprises from its scope is a perfect illustration of the fear of transparency on the part of politicians. Only within a year since its adoption the Lower Chamber was at the end of June discussing already the second proposal for granting exemptions from the obligation to publish public-private contracts. Although this second proposal is better than the previous one – which was finally not adopted – the way in which the legislative process in this domain has been handled provokes embarrassing questions: almost in parallel we can see strong political declarations on the need for transparency in spending of public budgets while at the same time the same politicians refrain from voting laws which implement effective anticorruption measures. Other illustrative examples of this schizophrenic approach are the proposal of laws on the nomination of persons to the boards of enterprises owned by public administration, on lobbyist regulation, on whistleblowing etc. No wonder that in such an environment obtaining evidence of corruption through legal means is an extremely tough nut to crack.

What is coming up in July? The Lower as well as the Upper Chamber of the Parliament will show which legislative proposals they can manage to adopt at the last moment – it will be interesting to watch the destiny of the version no. x of the proposal of the amendment to the Act on the Supreme Audit Authority extending its competences and the Act on internal management and financial control in the public administration. The election campaign which has just started will test the effectiveness of the recently adopted rules on transparency in financing of election campaign. As of July and later on we will be able whether the probably most important anticorruption law adopted in the current legislative term will prove its qualities. It will be equally interesting to watch the functioning of the newly established Office for monitoring of political party financing and the way in which it will apply the aforementioned rules. Let's be positive in this respect and let's hope that political parties will not surpass the newly fixed financial limits for the campaign spending, that they will not try to circumvent these limits by using persons colloquially called as white horses – be they alive or dead – as fake donors, as well as that campaigns will not be financed by companies with anonymous beneficial owners from tax havens or via posting advertisements in party newspapers run by companies directly owned by political parties or , last but not least, that the identification of third parties sponsoring campaigns by paying billboards and other support advertisements directly from their funds and not though parties' accounts will work sufficiently. NGOs have already announced that they will monitor the compliance of election campaigns with the new financing rules. Also the Office for monitoring of political campaigns gave some first opinions on the way it intends to apply those rules. Summertime is the best time for fairy tales so let's keep the illusion that at least some of them will come true.

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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:
59.5%
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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: 4684
Last month: 65

Areas of interest – over time

Latest articles

2017-07-21 Zeman má zvážit cesty do krajů. Mohlo by prý jít o kampaň
(ČTK, Tyden.cz)
http://www.tyden.cz/rubriky/domaci/politika/zeman-ma-zvazit-cesty-do-kraju-mohlo-by-pry-jit-o-kampan_439149.html
2017-07-20 Nový kancléř sněmovny Morávek slíbil, že vrátí odměny, které protiprávně získal za členství v dozorčích radách
(Jan Štetka, Marek Pokorný, domaci.ihned.cz)
https://domaci.ihned.cz/c1-65806660-novy-kancler-snemovny-moravek-slibil-ze-vrati-odmeny-ktere-protipravne-ziskal-od-firem-za-clenstvi-v-dozorcich-radach
2017-07-20 Nový kancléř Sněmovny přiznal protiprávní příjmy
(ČTK, zpravy.idnes.cz)
http://zpravy.idnes.cz/kancler-jan-moravek-protipravni-prijmy-fcu-/domaci.aspx?c=A170720_124031_domaci_hro
2017-07-18 Prodejte jednu akcii. Ústavní soud dal státním firmám návod, jak se vyhnout veřejné kontrole
(Jan Cibulka, irozhlas.cz)
https://www.irozhlas.cz/komentare/prodejte-jednu-akcii-ustavni-soud-dal-statnim-firmam-navod-jak-se-vyhnout_1707181720_cib
2017-07-12 Senátor Čuba dodržel slib. Valentově nadaci poslal celý svůj plat
(Robert Sattler, lidovky.cz)
http://www.lidovky.cz/cuba-poslal-nadaci-svuj-plat-d1z-/zpravy-domov.aspx?c=A170711_173151_ln_domov_rsa
2017-07-10 Svěřenský fond nestačí: Agrofert přijde o dotace, pokud Babiš půjde do vlády
(Editor, Neovlivni.cz)
http://neovlivni.cz/sverensky-fond-nestaci-agrofertu-prijde-o-dotace-pokud-babis-pujde-do-vlady/
2017-07-09 Jak by měl vypadat nový zákon o výzkumu, vývoji a inovacích pro Společnost 4.0
(Rut Bízková, blog.aktualne.cz)
http://blog.aktualne.cz/blogy/rut-bizkova.php?itemid=29552&_ga=2.72722587.924370773.1499683556-1591370483.1446114666
2017-07-08 Agrofert dostal z EU už přes pět miliard. Europoslanci chystají Babišovi stopku
(Kateřina Šafaříková, Jiří Nádoba, Respekt.cz)
https://www.respekt.cz/politika/agrofert-dostal-z-eu-uz-pres-pet-miliard-europoslanci-chystaji-babisovi-stopku
2017-07-04 Babišův poslanec Tureček je „bezdomovec“. Nemá vlastní poslaneckou kancelář, náhrady ale bral
(Miroslav Mareš, HlidaciPes.org)
http://hlidacipes.org/babisuv-poslanec-turecek-skoro-bezdomovec-nema-vlastni-poslaneckou-kancelar-nahrady-bral/
2017-07-03 Státní dotace v Česku vedou k zásadním vynálezům jen zřídka
(Martin Rychlík, Ceskapozice.lidovky.cz)
http://ceskapozice.lidovky.cz/statni-dotace-v-cesku-vedou-k-zasadnim-vynalezum-jen-zridka-p4x-/tema.aspx?c=A170703_095712_pozice-tema_houd

Latest parameters changes

06/2017   #6 Electronic public diary of politicians
The new minister for legislation and human rights signaled the preparation of an Act on regulation of lobbying which should allegedly include also public diaries of politicians, however, so far without further details.

06/2017   #49 Democratic principles of civil service
The powers and tasks of the public administration as well as the status of civil servants are defined by the relevant laws. The legislation regulating the functioning of the public administration and civil service fulfills the principles of legality, equal treatment, proportionality, legal certainty, acting in time, participation, respect for private life and transparency. The unresolved situations of conflict of interest in certain parts of the state administration generate doubts about the impartiality of civil servants serving in these parts of the state administration

06/2017   #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 is in the Lower Chamber of the Parliament and which should replace the existing dysfunctional Act on financial control in public administration, does not include crucial mechanisms for an efficient system of internal audit or reduction of duplicit and ineffective inspections and checks. The version of the Act sent by the government to the Loweer Chamber of the Parliament 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.

06/2017   #71 Adoption of a general protection framework for whistleblowers
The Government submitted to the Lower Chamber of the Parliament protection of whistleblowers. In parallel, the ministry of finance submitted – via the minister of finance - its own MP proposal of law on whistleblower protection. Whereas The Government proposal, which is in the Lower Chamber of the Parliament, solves the problem of whistleblowers’ protection only partially, the proposal prepared by the ministry of finance provides a more complex solution to whistleblowers. Presentation of two parallel government coalition proposals can, however, result in the blockage of both proposals which can ultimately lead to the non-adoption of any legislative Act whistleblower protection.

06/2017   #72 Whistleblowing to ombudsman
The Government proposal, which is in the Lower Chamber of the Parliament, does not foresee the possibility of announcement of illegal or other illicit acts to an external body different from the employer. The parallel MP proposal expects that the announcements would be filed with an external body, namely the Supreme Prosecution Authority, however, only with respect to criminal acts, excluding the announcements of deficiencies of the functioning of the public administration not amounting to a criminal act.

06/2017   #73 Evaluation of legitimacy of whistleblower's announcement
The Government proposal, which is in the Lower Chamber of the Parliament, foresees the assessment of the rightfulness of the announcement only in the framework of the subsequent judicial proceedings. The parallel MP proposal authorizes the competent state prosecutor to assess the rightfulness of the announcement in relation some of the criminal acts defined in the law.