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Lidovky.cz

Audit at Interior Ministry shows abuse of EU funds

Evropa

  9:14

Interior Minister files criminal complaints over misuse of EU funds, handling of public tenders; internal audit uncovers dismal oversight

Jan Kubice. Po odchodu ze služeb policie se stal spoluvlastníkem soukromé firmy zabývající se bezpečnostním poradenstvím SUB S.A. foto: © ČTKČeská pozice

An audit that the Interior Ministry commissioned to determine how it allocated European Union funds in recent years has uncovered evidence of widespread abuse, leading Interior Minister Jan Kubice (unaffiliated) to file a number of criminal complaints, including over the handling of public tenders, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD) reported on Tuesday.

“Based on the findings of the internal audit, several complaints have been filed,” Interior Ministry spokesman Pavel Novák was quoted as saying. The complaints primarily relate to the time when Martin Pecina (Social Democrats, ČSSD) headed the ministry but also to the tenure of Kubice’s immediate predecessor, Radek John, chairman of the Public Affairs (VV) party.

As an example of the lack of oversight (or perhaps complicity) at the ministry, MfD noted that according to internal bookkeeping, a driver identified as “Marek T.” was paid Kč 60,000 per month – more than twice the average salary for such work — from money earmarked for an EU project. ‘Simply put, he was driving a car, not leading any European initiative.’

Marek T. worked as a driver for a then deputy minister, Pavel Kryštof, but was officially listed as having been the coordinator of an EU project worth Kč 321 million titled “Economic and Project Information in e-Government,” Deputy Interior Minister Radek Šmerda told the daily. “Simply put, he was driving a car, not leading any European initiative.”

Kryštof was initially head of the Department of EU Funds; after the resignation of John as interior minister he became a deputy minister. “Marek T. did work as a driver, but he also participated in the project. For example, he filed documents in the accounting department,” Kryštof told MfD.

That may not work in Marek T.’s favor: according to Šmerda, the allocation and spending of the EU funds was not economical, there was no clear responsibility for oversight, “and a lot of things show signs of criminal activity.” 

See related article: EU subsidies for Czech Interior Ministry at risk

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