8. června 2016 | News

Nominace přes všechny sliby zůstaly problémové

A joint team from the Centre for Independent Investigations (CNI) and Anticorruption Endowment (NFPK) has newly analysed 195 nominations to the supervisory boards of state-owned companies, made by the Sobotka government in 2014-2016. One nominee in four was from a political party. The Government Committee for Personal Nominations (VVPN or Committee) uniquely failed to resolve the nominations of persons with a problematic past.

The CNI-NFPK team has monitored the two-year history of the Government Committee for Personal Nominations. Focus was on how the Sobotka cabinet tackled the most frequently debated issues, namely the political bias of supervisory boards, professional expert standards, and moral integrity of their members. Results indicate that these boards are hardly better than their precursors.

“In a degree, professional prowess of the candidates has been scrutinized, although only 11 hopefuls were rejected over two years,” says CNI Team analyst Šárka Trunkátová. “But it’s some progress anyway; thanks to the Committee the State at last began to evince systematic interest in the skills and qualifications of the people it’s sending to its supervisory boards,” Trunkátová explains.

However, the other two areas receive a more guarded assessment from the analysts. “Nobody pays attention to the much-discussed problems of politically biased supervisory boards, and we have information that the Committee has not received any particular assignments from the government,” notes Janusz Konieczny from the NFPK. “How can the government ensure that supervisory boards have no political bias, if the only policy-watchers there are people from NGOs?” Konieczny wonders.

But according to the study outcomes, moral integrity of candidates remains to pose the gravest problem. “This criterion is just as important as the theoretical knowledge shown by the nominee. If the candidate has managed an office where dubious contracts saw light or its economic management was poor, the Committee should be on its guard and start asking questions,” says Trunkátová.

This is the main focus of analytical criticisms. It is not clear from the VVPN records that such questions were ever put to people with a chequered past.  Without having to explain much, ex-Governor Stanislav Eichler, who worked for a private company that tapped subsidies from “his” region, passed the scrutiny alongside the likes of Ludmila Petráňová from the firm Eltodo (which the media associated with dubious contracts) and the solar power company Lumen Energy, or Miloslav Šefara, who was once sacked by the Directorate of Waterways because of the notorious drawbridge of Kolín, overpriced by 350 million crowns. “Sometimes we felt that the Committee is trying to find more about such things, but a three-member body, operating on an interim basis, simply was not made to attend to such problems,” assertsTrunkátová, who believes that politicians were not careful enough when they set up that body. “In the final result, there is an absence of serious monitoring of nominations,” the CNI analyst says.

She smiles she picks up a funny detail: Petr Polák, who the media say is close to the Prime Minister, said during a VVPN job interview that upon joining ČEZ he would resign from the supervisory board of the firm, Severočeské doly a.s. “But instead of that, two days before joining ČEZ, that other supervisory board promoted him to deputy chairman and as seen from the business register and that company’s website, he continues to work there,” shrugs Trunkátová.

The conclusion is obvious, analysts say: “Without legislation on personnel and radical reform of the nomination system, all one can expect is a shadow theatre performance, rather than real improvement of things. When coalitions start reshuffling and pressures are applied for a change in supervisory boards, the full scale of the problem will be seen by all,” concludes Janusz Konieczny from the NFPK.  

A brief summary of the study outcomes is available online: HERE (in Czech only)

Additional information available from Michal Voda, Centre for Independent Investigations (CNI): voda@nasipolitici.cz, tel.: 777 022 577 and Janusz Konieczny, NFPK, janusz.konieczny@nfpk.cz, tel.: 604 270 132