Prague - The Czech transport minister, Antonin Prachar (ANO 2011), is possibly breaking the law on conflict of interest and faces a fine of CZK 50,000 (EUR 1,800). Prachar himself denies any wrongdoing.
Prachar is the board chairman at Omega Servis Holding, a private transport company, even though, according to Czech law, members of the government are not allowed to be in the management of private companies. Prachar had a legal obligation to end such involvement at the latest 30 days after becoming minister.
Prachar was appointed transport minister on January 29 and, according to the Czech business register, four days later he was confirmed as board chairman at Omega.
The minister says that he resigned from his post at Omega before the Sobotka government was sworn in. Neither Prachar nor a law firm representing Omega offered an explanation of why is Prachar still registered as board chairman in the business register.
Prachar admits that he owned Omega shares until the end of 2013. His wife, Renata, is a member of the Omega board.
According to Omega's website, the company owns a fleet of 100 trucks and semi-trailers, employs approximately 200 people and its revenue is in the millions of euros.
Prachar is not the first Transport Ministry senior official to have been possibly involved in a violation of law. In March, Deputy Transport Minister Milan Feranec was appointed supervisory board director at state-run Czech Railways after he concealed that he was also an executive at a private company undergoing bankruptcy.
Feranec eventually admitted a mistake and a court annulled his appointment to the Czech Railways supervisory board and ordered another vote. Feranec was voted into the same position again in June.
The opposition sharply criticizes Minister Prachar and his key advisers at the ministry. Former minister Zbynek Stanjura (ODS), currently a lawmaker, says that Prachar's knowledge and managerial skills are not sufficient for the position.
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