Prague - The Czech anti-corruption police department that investigates the most serious economic offenses, often linked to the political sphere, is awaiting a major reshuffle.
Aktuálně.cz was informed that current director of the unit Jiří Novák is likely to be sacked soon, while the position of his deputy Milan Cícera is far from stable. They both refused to comment on this.
Although the officials said that these are only routine changes, Aktuálně.cz learned that the staff reshuffle was ordered by Interior Minister Ivan Langer who does not see some employees of the unit loyal enough.
"Wishes of the masters"
"This is an issue that has been going on for some time and only escalated in the past few weeks. The minister would obviously like to have these posts occupied by more loyal people that would fulfill the wishes of their "masters" without questioning and hesitation," an Interior Ministry official well-informed about the issue said.
Deputy director Cícera is allegedly suspected by Langer that he is in contact with the group of Prague mayor Pavel Bém, Langer's big rival in the Civic Democratic Party (ODS).
Langer wrote to Aktuálně.cz in a text-message that he does not see the work of the unit's top officials as a big problem. "They could surely work more and better, yet I have no principal reason to be unhappy with them."
Top political affairs
In the past, the unit has been investigating cases of Czech top politicians, including former Social Democratic PM Stanislav Gross for his share acquisition in Moravia Energo or current Deputy PM Jiří Čunek who was accused of alleged acceptance of $25,000 (450,000 CZK) bribe from a real estate development company when he used to be mayor of the city of Vsetín in 2002.
In December 2007, the supreme state prosecutor concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Jiří Čunek on bribery charges.
In 2006, current PM Mirek Topolánek was investigated because of the company VAE he co-founded in the 1990s.
Some of the anti-corruption police unit's personnel left voluntarily two years ago because of alleged political pressure by then ruling Social Democratic Party.