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BIS: Big firms strengthen influence on Czech economic interests

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Prague, Oct 24 (CTK) – Big business groups considerably strengthened their influence on the economic decision-making of the Czech state in 2016, the counter-intelligence BIS writes in its annual report released on Tuesday.

Although these groups promoted their influence legally, it markedly interfered with the Czech economic interests, the BIS said.

In connection with activities threatening key economic interests of the country, the BIS last year handed the police and state attorneys about 50 percent more cases than in 2015.

The report says the online register of public contracts had a positive effect on the protection of the key economic interests. It says some state-controlled companies tried to circumvent the duty to release the contracts online.

A number of tenders starting in the previous years continued in 2016. The state dealt with faulty decisions in contracts on information and communication technology (ICT). “All ICT tenders grappled primarily with imperfect contracts from the previous periods,” the report says.

The suppliers used the old contracts to mar attempts to declare open tenders and forced the state bodies to extend the old contract. Firms used third parties for these obstructions in order to protect their own reputation, the BIS writes.

Some state-controlled firms proceeded according to their own internal regulations rather than the law on public contracts. In some cases, a well-established system was developed of this which caused significant losses. Senior managers were always actively or passively involved and the executor of the shareholder’s rights was more or less dysfunctional, the report writes.

The BIS also pointed to discrepancies between the economic profitability and security interests. “A typical example is the security of state ICT systems when some supplies can easily meet the formal security demands for the participation in the tender, although they are clearly connected with relevant security risks,” the report says, referring to firms from China and Russia.

The BIS also writes about the increasing danger of influencing of the public opinion by distorted information in order to gain economic profit at the expense of the Czech state. Both legal and illegal effort to influence the steps of various bodies could be seen in institutions related to energy, transport, health care and the financial sector, the report says.

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