Prague, March 8 (CTK) – Czech PM Andrej Babis (ANO) wants to ask the lower house security committee to hear the three top state attorneys next week in connection with his criticism of General Inspection of Security Corps (GIBS) director Michal Murin, he said after talking to the attorneys on Thursday.
Babis met Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman, Prague High Attorney Lenka Bradacova and Olomouc High Attorney Ivo Istvan at a session of the National Security Council (BRS) board this morning.
“I will ask [the committee] to invite them to its meeting and hear their information on how the GIBS works,” Babis told a press conference.
He said last spring Istvan sent documents to the former government, of which Babis was a part, which prove the unreliability of Murin.
Babis has been prime minister since mid-December.
Last week, he said he does not trust Murin.
Before, the GIBS said Babis was exerting pressure on Murin to resign.
The lower house security committee heard Murin behind closed doors later this morning but none of the participants would comment about the results.
Speaking to journalists before the BRS meeting on Thursday, Babis mentioned the long-lasting criticism of the GIBS by state attorneys, including Pavel Zeman.
“I think there have been mistakes that have a long-term character and have repeated. I would call them systemic problems,” Pavel Zeman told Thursday’s issue of Lidove noviny (LN).
Babis mentioned the Beretta case of leaks of information from criminal investigation, in which Prague state attorney Dagmar Machova and former police officers are the protagonists.
Last year, Murin gave his testimony as a witness in this case, which has been supervised by the Prague High State Attorney’s Office.
The GIBS, on its part, speaks of pressure exerted on it, for example through an audit triggered by the Finance Ministry.
Babis admitted that it was him who initiated the audit.
He said in the previous government, the coalition partners, i.e. the Social Democrats (CSSD) and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), outvoted his ANO and pushed through a budget increase for the GIBS to hire more staff.
“He [Murin] received money to hire more officers, but he used a part of the sum to finance excessive bonuses [for the current GIBS officers] worth 30 million crowns, compared with the usual 13 million. The GIBS was checked never before, so I asked the Finance Ministry to launch an internal audit [of the GIBS],” Babis said.
“According to my information, the company, or the institution, does not operate effectively,” he said, referring to the GIBS, and added that Murin is skilled in self-promotion, hiring a media adviser and various other advisers.
According to the top attorney Zeman, lawmakers should consider whether the GIBS should cease to be accountable to the prime minister and become accountable to another body.
For example, a special department could be established at the Government Office, or the post of a government commissioner who would monitor the GIBS and submit reports to the prime minister.
Another alternative is to link the GIBS to another institution, for example the state attorney’s office, which stands outside politics, Pavel Zeman told LN.
The Babis-Murin conflict stirred up the political scene of late. At the initiative of the opposition, the Chamber of Deputies will hold an extraordinary session on Friday to discuss personnel changes Babis’s cabinet has made in spite of being a caretaker government without parliament’s confidence.