Friday, 18 April 2014

Mayors facing charges over abuse of money for floods

4 February 2013

Prague, Feb 1 (CTK) - The Czech anti-corruption police have brought charges against 27 persons, mostly current and former mayors in the Usti Region, north Bohemia, for illegal drawing of subsidies to eliminate damage after floods, anti-corruption office police spokesman Jaroslav Ibehej told CTK Friday.

They caused the damage of 125 million crowns to the Regional Development Ministry, Ibehej said.

One of the suspects who ensured the implementation of the public orders for the mayors is being prosecuted over similar frauds with subsidies, regional state attorney Jan Jakovec has said.

The towns and villages in question asked for subsidies although the floods did not harm their property, Ibehej said.

"The detectives have come to the conclusion that the municipal authorities' property was not damaged by any elemental disaster or torrential rain," he added.

Ibehej said charges had been brought against 24 current and former mayors in the Usti Region.

According to the police, upon a previous agreement the group was gaining illegally financial means for the renewal of property after the floods in the region from the subsidies provided by the Regional Development Ministry between October 2009 and May 2010.

"They falsely stated in their applications for subsidies that the towns and villages had been hit by torrential rains that damaged 80-100 percent of various property such as dams, walls and communications," Ibehej said.

The applications were confirmed by expert reports drafted by two defendants, he added.

The officials are being prosecuted over the crime of subsidy fraud, some of them also over loan fraud and abuse of power. If convicted, they may be sentenced up to 12 years in prison.

The police have refused to elaborate on the names of the towns and villages in question and only said they were from the Usti Region and were small, with hundreds of inhabitants.

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