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Official removed over Babiš’s case wins whistleblower award

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Prague, Dec 9 (CTK) – Martina Uhrinova, former Czech Finance Ministry’s section head, has won the Anticorruption Endowment’s annual award for courage in drawing attention to suspicious steps taken by officials in the Stork Nest case, the endowment announced on International Anti-Corruption Day Friday.
Uhrinova revealed that Deputy Finance Minister Tomas Vyhnalek ordered her subordinate to search for information from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) about the investigation of the Stork Nest (Capi Hnizdo) case involving Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO).
She tried to actively settle the issue with Babis and other ministry’s officials and she sent a report on her findings to a lawyer who is responsible for the investigation of cases related to cabinet members.
Uhrinova faces disciplinary proceedings and she was replaced by the subordinate who was ordered to find out as much as possible about the investigation of the Stork Nest case from OLAF.
Babis is suspected of an unauthorised drawing of an EU subsidy for the construction of the Stork Nest farm and luxurious holiday resort, which is owned by his Agrofert Holding now.
Uhrinova was an investigator of the anti-corruption police squad. She started working for the Finance Ministry in 2015.
The Anticorruption Endowment also awarded Jiri Kotek, former deputy mayor of the spa town of Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia.
Kotek initiated the filing of complaints thanks to which the town gained more than 110 million crowns. In connection with his long-term fight against corruption and favouritism, he faced a number of criminal complaints.
Kotek also helped release a video showing the selection of the winner of a huge public contract for the construction of a new arena decided by lots, which showed suspicious action taken by the organiser of the draw.
The Anticorruption Endowment presented its annual awards to whistleblowers for the sixth time now. In the previous years, the award went to former deputy finance minister Lukas Wagenknecht, senator Libor Michalek, North-West regional operational programme’s official Leo Steiner, Prague City Hall clerk Jiri Chytil and others. Wagenknecht had to leave his post after he called attention to suspicious circumstances of the construction of the Prague underground transport system and to contracts with the law office of ANO’s former deputy chairwoman Radmila Kleslova.
($1=25.134 crowns)

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