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Civil service law does not apply to Czech energy office head

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Prague, Feb 25 (CTK) – The civil service law does not apply to Czech Energy Regulatory Office (ERU) head Alena Vitaskova, who was sent to prison for abuse of power last week, and consequently, she need not step down from the post, the Government Legislative Council agreed unanimously on Thursday.

The government asked the council for its stance on the case of Vitaskova who was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for the ERU’s irregular granting of licences to two solar power plants. Vitaskova, who pleads innocent, said she would appeal the verdict.

If the cabinet accepts the council’s stance, Vitaskova will not have to leave the post as of March 1, Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD), head of the legislative council and human rights minister, said.

The council was to assess the different stances of the interior and industry and the trade ministries on the position of the ERU chairperson and deputy chairperson and recommend to the government further steps to be taken.

According to the Interior Ministry, the civil service law applies to Vitaskova, and this is why she must resign as of March 1 because she was charged with and found guilty of abuse of power, though the verdict has not taken effect yet.

However, the Industry and Trade Ministry is of the view that the post of Vitaskova is subject to the energy law, and her mandate will expire in July 2017.

The dispute was caused by the new organisational model of the ERU that is to be headed by a council and not a chairperson as of August 2017.

However, the legislation does not clearly say whether the EU chairperson and deputy chairperson have the status of civil servants under the civil service law until the end of July 2017,or not.

The civil service law, which took effect last July, exempts the members of the ERU council, which has not been set up yet, from its jurisdiction, but it does not mention explicitly the current EU head and deputy head.

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