You get as much as you give… …or how Lesy Czech Republic commissioned an ethical code from Rittig
Monday´s Comment
You get as much as you give… …or how Lesy Czech Republic commissioned an ethical code from Rittig
2. 3. 2015

The story of Lesy ČR Forestry Company, implicating Ivo Rittig’s firm, Rittig and Partners s.r.o, has percolated through the media ever since 2012. It is safe to say that this story is known from beginning to end. Let’s do a brief recap: In 2011 Lesy ČR commissioned an ethical code from the company Rittig & Partners for the price of CZK 1,720,000 without VAT (which makes CZK 2,060,000 with VAT). The document produced by Rittig’s firm had 25 pages, but actually it was only 20 pages, as dutifully reported by Prague City Court lawyer Tomáš Novosad in 2013 (“…typed of course with large-size titles and spaces; hence the court estimates that the number of standard pages did not exceed 20…”). The contractor therefore charged CZK 86,000 per page, without VAT. Following publicity given to this public contract by Czech Television, the Lesy ČR spokesman declared that the price “reflected the scope of research conducted, its evaluation, and subsequent processing of the code proper”.

The story of Lesy ČR Forestry Company, implicating Ivo Rittig’s firm, Rittig and Partners s.r.o, has percolated through the media ever since 2012. It is safe to say that this story is known from beginning to end. Let’s do a brief recap: In 2011 Lesy ČR commissioned an ethical code from the company Rittig & Partners for the price of CZK 1,720,000 without VAT (which makes CZK 2,060,000 with VAT). The document produced by Rittig’s firm had 25 pages, but actually it was only 20 pages, as dutifully reported by Prague City Court lawyer Tomáš Novosad in 2013 (“…typed of course with large-size titles and spaces; hence the court estimates that the number of standard pages did not exceed 20…”). The contractor therefore charged CZK 86,000 per page, without VAT.

Following publicity given to this public contract by Czech Television, the Lesy ČR spokesman declared that the price “reflected the scope of research conducted, its evaluation, and subsequent processing of the code proper”.

Ethical codes have long been quite a phenomenon. Maybe they replace common sense and parental guidance. I have read several and was overwhelmed by sheer terror; I thought I am a legally unaccountable idiot. Let’s hear selected gems from the ethical code commissioned by Lesy ČR:

  • The conduct of the company employees shall be always and in all circumstances legal, ethical, transparent and in harmony with the laws of the Czech Republic and LČR values.
  • I shall discharge my duties with due diligence.
  • I shall keep my word.
  • I shall be honest towards the others and towards myself.

Sometimes the provision of an ethical code is preceded by a type of risk assessment analysis, centering e.g. on working positions with the aim of identification of conflicts of interests, redoubling decision-making powers, etc. Anyone who believes that this was what Lesy ČR was after when awarding the contract to Rittig & Partners is wrong. The NFPK has the text of the contract between Lesy ČR and Rittig & Partners (we also have an invoice for this artifact). The Subject of Contract provision clearly states the following:

“The Contractor shall execute an internal document of Lesy České republiky, s. p. – Ethical Code for the company employees with due attention to defining desirable internal and external patterns of conduct and behaviour of the company employees.”

And that’s it. If I were in Ivo Rittig’s shoes, certainly I wouldn’t work overtime to execute such a document. As a token of gratitude for earning almost two million crowns so easily, I would probably go beyond the contract framework and add a few paragraphs on how to “treat senior citizens” or “take care of domestic animals”. But in truth, the single purpose of this project was to siphon off cash from a state enterprise, so why analyze it any longer?

 

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  • 2. 3. 2015
    …or how Lesy Czech Republic commissioned an ethical code from Rittig. The story of Lesy ČR Forestry Company, implicating Ivo Rittig’s firm, Rittig and Partners s.r.o, has percolated through the media ever since 2012.
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