Prague, Aug 22 (CTK) – The prime minister will always chair the Czech government council coordinating corruption fight in the future, under a draft change in its status that the government approved today.
PM and ANO chairman Andrej Babis is chairing the council now.
Under the approved draft, the council will have another two members to reach 19 in total.
Justice Minister Jan Knezinek (for ANO), head of the Government Legislative Council, was charged with coordinating tasks in the fight against corruption on the government level.
According to the current status, the council is chaired by the person entrusted to coordinate the corruption fight on the government level or, if there is no such person, by the PM.
Most recently, justice minister Robert Pelikan (ANO)in the previous coalition government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) as well as in Babis’s first one-colour cabinet was in charge of heading the council.
His authorisation did not apply to Pelikan’s successors Tatana Mala (ANO), who stayed in the post for a few days, and Knezinek, so Babis became the corruption council head.
Under the new status wording, the prime minister is the council head even if someone else is to coordinate the corruption fight.
Knezinek will be the council deputy head. Another deputy chairman is to be Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO).
The council to fight corruption was established as an advisory body of the cabinet. The council is to coordinate and assess the corruption fight in the Czech Republic, possibly prepare conceptual documents and comment on draft legal regulations in terms of corruption risks.
Some opposition parties criticised in the past weeks the fact that Babis was heading the council. They pointed to his criminal prosecution on suspicion of an EU subsidy fraud.
Babis said this week that he was and would remain the corruption council chairman.
The opposition Pirates challenged the new settlement of the council today. Babis as its chairman may boast of its successes and at the same time distance himself from possible problems, as Knezinek is to coordinate the corruption struggle, the Pirates argued.
Along with the government ministers, the 19-member council is comprised of the supreme state attorney, the director of the National Centre against Organised Crime (NCOZ), the chief of the General Inspection of Security Forces (GIPS), the head of the Towns and Villages Association, the president of the Chamber of Commerce and seven representatives of non-state non-profit organisations, academic community, state professional chambers and experts.