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Czech News in English » News » Politics » LN: Foreign minister hires party members as reward

LN: Foreign minister hires party members as reward

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Prague, Aug 2 (CTK) – Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) is giving contracts on external work to his fellow party members as a reward for their support inside the party, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
Last July, the civil service law took effect under which new staff could not be recruited without an official competition for the jobs, LN writes.
However, Zaoralek has proven that an opening can be found also without this. He used external work contracts for a group of his fellow Social Democrats from North Moravia, a region where his career started, it adds.
The employment of Social Democrat officials at the Foreign Ministry is associated with the party’s national congress last year where Zaoralek was elected to the post of deputy chairman, LN writes.
The votes and support are rewarded with six-month bonuses ranging between 90,000 to 180,000 crowns, it adds.
“I absolutely reject your hypothesis. All of these external workers were hired by me or my deputies and performed the activities for which they were paid,” Zaoralek is quoted as saying.
“It was naturally up to all of my deputies to give them the work and they were responsible for the fulfilment of the tasks,” he added.
Last April, the trade union from the Foreign Ministry wrote to Zaoralek a complaint that he hired so many new people without any official competition almost invariably.
“Being in a party is not automatically any handicap,” he replied to the letter.
Jaroslav Kala, deputy chairman of the Social Democrat branch in Bruntal, north Moravia, received 180,000 crowns for a contract. Under it, he was to prepare documents “in the sphere of foreign trade, with a stress on security aspects,” LN writes.
Kala’s CV speaks about his original position of a locomotive engines mechanician, but nothing about foreign trade, it adds.
Jiri Vzientek, chairman of the CSSD Frydek-Mistek branch in north Moravia, was an “consultant for foreign representation,” and Tomas Navratil, chairman of the Opava branch, also in North Moravia, helped “support the foreign investments and EU structural funds,” LN writes.
When asked about the exact nature of the work they did for the ministry, the men in question did not react, it adds.
Under the latest legislation, if any ministry hires external workers for a task for which it has its own staff with regular work contracts, it violates the budget discipline, LN writes.
The Supreme Audit Office (NKU) has also warned of this after its checking the management of the Foreign Ministry earlier this year, it adds.
However, the Foreign Ministry still has generous funds for external consultation services. This year, it was supposed to spend 5.575 million crowns on external contracts, but it spent the crushing majority of the sum in the first six months of the year already, LN writes.
($ = 24.212 crowns)

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