Monday, 21 April 2014

MP Bárta eyes VV chairmanship after court verdict

20 December 2012

Prague, Dec 19 (CTK) - Vit Barta, Chamber of Deputies member (Public Affairs, VV), wants to seek VV chairmanship after the appeals court ruled that he did not commit any criminal offence when he gave loans to his then party fellow members Kristyna Koci and Jaroslav Skarka, he told journalists yesterday.

The verdict of the Municipal Court in Prague was released by server yesterday.

The appeals court does not believe Skarka and Koci who say Barta bribed them with 500,000 and 170,000 crowns into loyalty and pushing through his interests. On the contrary, it agreed that these were interest-free loans.

The first-instance court punished Barta with an 18-month suspended sentence with a 30-month probation in April.

Skarka (formerly VV) was sentenced to three years in prison.

The appeals panel also recognised as substantiated his appeal.

The lower instance court will have to reappraise the case. The proceedings have been set for January 23.

Barta, former transport minister, says Koci and Skarka were "puppets" who were to discredit his effort to get the ministry rid of the construction lobby that is overpricing the construction of not only motorways.

"That is why I have decided on the basis of the verdict and its commentary to comply with a number of nominations that I have received from VV clubs" and seek party chairmanship," Barta said.

He said he will be running for the post with a programme aimed to cut the prices of food and motorway construction.

The VV entered the Chamber of Deputies in the 2010 general election for the first time and became a junior government party.

In April it split, however, and its core went into opposition while a group around Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake has stayed in the government and created a new party, LIDEM.

Current VV chairman and former interior minister Radek John announced in end-October that he does not want to lead the party any more. He has started to work for the publishing house of media magnate Jaromir Soukup.

Barta is a significant sponsor of the party and he is referred to as its informal leader.

($1=19.124 crowns)

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