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Šlachta to become Czech customs office deputy head

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Prague, Aug 8 (CTK) – Former police organised crime unit (UOOZ) head Robert Slachta, who left the corps in protest against a police reform as of June 30, has accepted the offered post of the Czech Customs Authority’s deputy general director, he told CTK on Monday.

The Finance Ministry, under which the Customs Authority comes, is to announce more details, he added.

The server writes that Slachta will fill the post of deputy head of the customs authority for the Pardubice Region, east Bohemia, as of August 22 and he will become deputy general director in charge of investigation as of September 1.

Slachta criticised the police shakeup based on the merger of his UOOZ with the corruption squad into the National Centre against Organised Crime (NCOZ).

Its establishment caused a rift between the two major government parties, the Social Democrats (CSSD) of PM Bohuslav Sobotka and the ANO movement of Finance Minister Andrej Babis, which threatened to leave the government. The police leadership defends the change saying the new central body will fight crime more effectively.

Slachta was proposed for the new post by Deputy Finance Minister Alena Schillerova last week. She said cooperation with an experienced police would be useful in view of the extended powers of the Customs Authority to include the crime investigation as well.

“I can only say I have accepted the offer,” Slachta told CTK.

In accordance with law, Slachta will first have to ask for his return to the service.

Customs Authority spokeswoman Martina Kankova said he would thereby regain the rank of high counsel he had when he left the police corps, and he would be able to assume the post at the Customs Authority.

“As of September 1, he will be entrusted with the post of deputy general director for investigation that is now vacant,” Kankova said.

Milan Poulicek was recently appointed the Customs Authority’s new general director. His main priorities are to form a new team and prepare the office for new powers, such as gambling and VAT.

His predecessor Petr Kaspar resigned in late June.

After Slachta returns to the service and becomes a customs officer, he can participate in a competition for the post of deputy general director.

Other people also left the Customs Authority’s management, including deputy directors Vladimir Stainer and Tomas Pinkas. Their successors will be selected in an open competition. The posts should be filled by October 1, Poulicek said.

Schillerova said on Monday the state should not let experienced civil servants and elite police leave for the private sector, which had happened in the past sometimes.

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