Prague, Aug 20 (CTK) – The efforts to make the Czech Post (CP) state company’s financial management transparent is faced with numerous private pressures aimed to prevent it, PM Bohuslav Sobotka said yesterday, adding that Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (both CSSD) should not allow himself to be discouraged from the plan.
Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) was speaking to journalists after a meeting of the National Security Council (BRS) board that discussed the case of suspected bribery linked to the CP.
He said there are “negative signals” of similar developments concerning other state companies as well.
The police should investigate the case as quickly as possible, the politicians agreed.
The CP falls under the Interior Ministry headed by Chovanec.
In reaction to the scandal, which erupted last week, Chovanec initiated the meeting of the BRS board. He said a state-run company’s interests have been jeopardised and an attempt had been made to use the intelligence and security means to destabilise the situation at the Interior Ministry.
Sobotka said the government has recently received a number of reports showing that there are private interests and pressures from private firms aimed to thwart the ministry and the CP board’s effort to make the CP’s financial management more effective and transparent.
That is why it is good that leading politicians could exchange information about the case at the meeting yesterday, he said and added that the interior minister [Chovanec], who vowed not to yield to the pressure, enjoys his full support.
The CP need not be the only state company the ministers will be dealing with, Sobotka said.
“There are also other state-run companies showing “certain negative signals,” he said.
Pavel Belobradek, deputy PM and head of the Christian Democratic Union (KDU-CSL), said the reasons for convoking the meeting were relevant and serious.
The information discussed at the meeting may have a crucial impact on some open cases of suspected crime, Belobradek said.
“The law enforcement bodies should be backed so that they can complete the investigation…so that it becomes clear that if some people were accustomed to certain CP-related practices in the past, it is no longer possible to pursue the same practices now,” Belobradek said.
The situation is similar in the Lesy CR forest company and other state-run firms, he added.
Finance Minister and ANO chairman Andrej Babis, too, said he heard information at the meeting that he had not known before.
It is good that the prime minister launched a new tradition of the BRS also dealing with cases involving state-run companies, Babis said.
The participants in the meeting would not give details about either the CP case or the cases of the Czech citizens who went missing in Lebanon and Libya, which also were on the agenda yesterday, citing their classified character.
The CP scandal erupted last week when the media wrote that Kamil Choc, from the CSSD’s Central Bohemian organisation, demanded a bribe of three million crowns from businessman Lukas Cadek who has been suing the CP for more than 20 million crowns.
The bribe was to allegedly go to the CSSD coffers and to Chovanec, under whom the CP falls. Both the CSSD and Chovanec dismiss this.
According to some information, the case is linked to a tender for the supply of security services to the CP.
Sobotka yesterday said Choc’s behaviour was unacceptable and he has no place in the CSSD.
Earlier yesterday, the CSSD Central Bohemia organisation recommended that Choc’s home branch should suspend his party membership. The branch is scheduled to meet on Tuesday.
The CP posted a profit of almost 250 million crowns last year. It operates 3200 post offices, but plans to transfer four fifths of them to contractual partners in the form of franchises in the next ten years.
The CP employed over 31,700 people as from December 31, 2014.