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30. srpna 2011 | Press Conferences

Zastavme společně korupci

Let's watch out, key legislation is being drafted that gives the impression it will contain corruption, but nothing can be remoter from reality. Current drafts seem to indicate that the corrupt environment will in some ways grow lusher. The "Stop Corruption!" initiative, a joint projects of the Anticorruption Endowment (NFPK) and Public against Corruption (VKP) duly and vocally points out the sober fact and hints quite a few specific ideas concerning draft amendments, which would endow relevant acts with enough powers to significantly stem corrupt practices. We are talking about a public contracts act, Civil Code, and an act concerning trading partnerships.

Public Contracts Act

Even though the government draft amendment to this legislation was billboarded as a move towards ushering more transparency into the system of public contracts, the outcomes are basically zilch. It does not make it any easier to establish the ultimate owner of the public funds the winner of a public tender has been awarded. Nor does it prevent persons with a crucial say on awarding the public contract from being the utlimate owners of the winning firms and thereby the beneficiaries of funding from public budgets.

"Any firm vying for public money must 'expose its flesh' to the state: it must reveal all its asset structure,down to the beneficiaries," says the Chairman of the NFPK Board of Trustees, Karel Janeček. "Such 'stripping firms naked' is no novelty. The principle is commonly applied to all banks, insurance companies, financial institutions – in short, all concerns to which people entrust their savings in the hope of recovering them at a due date. There is no slightest reason why the firms, to which citizens entrust money irreversibly, should not reveal their complete property structure," he notes.

Civil Code and Trade Partnerships Act

A similar passive attitude is observed also in the case of unregistered paper shares, the main undercover of corrupt practices. The Civil Code and the Trade Partnerships Act leave unregistered paper shares unchanged. Moreover, the preamble to the Trade Partnerships Act declares that abolishing unregistered paper shares is a "thing of the past". Furthermore, the bill is remarkably fuzzy concerning the assets of limited-liability companies.

"While in case of joint-stock companies the newly proposed amendments to the Civil Code and the Trade Partnerships Act considerably erode ownership transparency, this goes even further into abslute values for the limited-liability companies, turning them into virtually perfect money-laundering machines," says Hana Marvanová of the civic association, Public against Corruption.  A thorough analysis by NFPK and VPK sends a clear message:  if the Civil Code and Trade Partnership Act drafts are approved in their present wording, they will remarkably contribute to worsening an already intransparent business environment and help to strengthen corruption-prone structures in the Czech Republic.

Unless change comes, we'll go on wasting CZK 1,000 per month

"The 'Stop Corruption!' initiative is an appeal for change. An appeal to the government, lawmakers and public authorities: It's high time to start tackling corruption! Let's stop academic discussions, what we need are tangible results," says NFPK Board of Trustees member Stanislav Bernard: The Stop Corruption! project is a challenge for all citizens, organizations and clubs not indifferent to the Czech situation. Corruption is everybody's concern, for each of us loses 1,000 crowns a month.  If we don't do something with corruption, we shall go on paying smart money to corrupt elements."

Contacts: Monika Vondráková, NFPK Director, e-mail: monika.vondrakova@nfpk.cz, www.nfpk.cz

Jan Štern, Member of VPK, e-mail: jan.stern@gmail.com, www.verejnostprotikorupci.cz