Prime Minister Babis Makes His Move, Suspends GIBS Head: Sobotka Questions Motives, Fears Control GrabČTK
Prague, March 15 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), whose minority government keeps working after its resignation, will immediately suspend General Inspection of Security Corps (GIBS) chief Michal Murin as he has lost trust in him, Babis told the lower house security committee today.
Former PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) and right-wing opposition leader Petr Fiala (Civic Democrats, ODS) criticised Babis’s step.
Babis’s government without the lower house’s confidence and after submitting its resignation is attempting to control the security corps, including its general inspection, Sobotka said.
“I firmly believe that a government in resignation should make no personnel changes, especially not in the security corps,” Fiala told journalists.
The task of PM Babis is not to deal with Murin and directors of other institutions in the Czech Republic. His task is to try to form a majority government,” he said.
Fiala said it is irrelevant whether Murin is competent or not.
Babis has decided to suspend Murin on the basis of state attorneys’ documents.
One of them writes that Murin expediently lied to state attorneys in the case of a high-ranking police officer, Babis said.
“Mr Murin has betrayed everything – the institution he is heading, the law on discipline in service and the oath of office,” Babis told deputies.
He again questioned the GIBS financial management.
Babis also mentioned other objections the state attorneys raised to Murin.
The GIBS is trying to get access to the investigation files and it enables suspects to look into them, it does not respect the state attorneys’ decisions and wants to apply wiretappings without sufficient reasons, Babis said.
Murin poses a threat to democracy and his behaviour is scandalous, he stressed.
“Instead of helping uncover criminal activities of police, he was concealing them,” Babis told reporters on leaving the committee.
Babis spoke about suspension, which is not dismissal from a post. Under the service law, a security corps member can be suspended if he is suspected of a crime or a disciplinary or other offence and if his staying in service would threaten its serious interest or the investigation into his conduct.
Murin’s suspension must yet be prepared and it will be temporary, he Babis said.
He reiterated that he had not proposed Murin’s dismissal.
Babis also questioned the GIBS’ efficacy, saying there was one prosecuted person per one GIBS member.
Unlike Babis, Sobotka said in the Chamber of Deputies committee that there was no reason for launching disciplinary proceedings with Murin on the basis of the documents of the Olomouc High State Attorney’s Office that he had studied.
Babis said Sobotka should have taken steps against Murin. However, now it is too late, it is statute-barred, he added.
The security commission today officially acknowledged the information presented by Babis, Sobotka, Murin and the country’s three highest state attorneys, Pavel Zeman, Ivo Istvan and Lenka Bradacova, the committee’s head Radek Koten (Freedom and Direct Democracy, SPD) said.
Some opposition members sitting on the committee expressed concern that this resolution would help Babis remove Murin from the post. Koten dismissed it.
The GIBS, which investigates suspected criminal activities of the police, customs and prison officers, was founded in 2012 and Murin is its second director heading it since December 2015 after the resignation of his predecessor Ivan Bilek.
The GIBS director is nominated and dismissed by the prime minister at the cabinet’s proposal after the matter was debated in the lower house security committee. A GIBS director can be dismissed if facing a criminal charge or after his five-year term of office ends.