Sunday, 20 April 2014

Energy regulator head accused of power abuse complicity

29 March 2013

Olomouc, North Moravia, March 28 (CTK) - The Czech Energy Regulatory Office (ERU) chairwoman Alena Vitaskova, who is facing abuse of power charges, also helped her subordinate commit crime, Radek Mezlik, from the High State Attorney's Office, told CTK Thursday.

The person in question is the head of the licence department, Mezlik said.

Ten people have been accused in the case of an alleged solar energy cheat worth two billion crowns. Four of them are ERU staffers, Mezlik said, adding that the widening of the number of charged persons was not being planned.

"On December 31, 2010, two persons contributed to the granting of licences to two photovoltaic power plants although prerequisites and legal conditions were not met," Mezlik said.

"Another two, including Vitaskova, deliberately frustrated the renewal of the process that was to lead to the revocation of the licences and elimination of this harmful consequence," Mezlik said.

He said this was head of the licence department who, with her decisions, left in force the illegal decisions on granting the licences.

"Vitaskova helped a criminal act as she knew about the previous personal and business contacts of the director with the person acting on behalf of the two power plants with the ERU," Mezlik said.

"She kept secret the facts that corroborate the suspicion of bias before her immediate superior who could have put her off the decision-making process," he added.

Mezlik said she had been informed on all substantial circumstances relating to the procedure of the revocation of the licences.

The case refers to the alleged fraudulent acquiring of licences for two photovoltaic power plants in the Chomutov area, north Bohemia, before the end of 2010.

The police say the group tried to get the licence and subsequently connect the power plants to the energy distribution network before the end of 2010, although they were not yet completed.

This would have guaranteed a substantially higher price for the purchase of energy than in the case of photovoltaic resources set into operation in 2011.

If the fraud had not been uncovered, the damage of 1.9 billion crowns would have been inflicted due to the guaranteed higher price for the purchase of the generated energy, Mezlik said.

The power plants would have obtained roughly 50 percent higher purchasing prices every month.

Along with the ERU staffers, some power plant managers and suppliers are facing fraud and attempted fraud charges.

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