Friday, 25 April 2014

Minister wants closure of high state attorney's office

21 January 2013

Prague, Jan 20 (CTK) - Czech Justice Minister Pavel Blazek (Civic Democrats, ODS) plans to close down the high state attorney's offices and establish a special anti-corruption office, he said in a discussion programme on the public Czech Television (CT) Sunday.

Blazek said he wants to submit the bill introducing the changes to the government by the end of March.

But it is the parliament that has the final say on the bill, he noted.

He added that he would like to win support from opposition lawmakers for the planned changes.

Blazek said the removal of the two high state attorney's offices, seated in Prague and Olomouc, north Moravia, would simplify the judiciary procedures and give attorneys more responsibility at the same time.

The current system of Czech state attorney's offices comprises one supreme, two high, eight regional and 86 district offices.

The Justice Ministry started working on the bill already under Blazek's predecessor Jiri Pospisil (ODS).

The original plan reckoned with the setting up of an anti-corruption office headed by a special deputy of the supreme state attorney. The supreme state attorney would not be allowed to influence the work of the office, however.

Blazek said the president would appoint a supreme state attorney proposed by the government and the head of the anti-corruption office proposed by the supreme state attorney.

He nevertheless said this appointment procedure still may undergo certain changes.

Shadow justice minister Jiri Dienstbier (opposition Social Democrats, CSSD) told Czech Television that he shares the view that the country's top attorney would be chosen by one of the political bodies.

But Dinestbier pointed out that the naming of other senior officials at state attorney's offices should not be politically influenced.

According to previous information, the new anti-corruption office should employ some 15 attorneys who would deal with corruption and other serious crimes committed by public officials as well as crimes committed within the operation of banks, investment companies, funds, insurance companies and securities brokerages.

The office might also deal with machinations in insolvency proceedings, bargaining an advantage in placing public procurement and auction machinations causing damage over 150 million crowns.

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