‘Policegate’ panel set up
MPs have voted to create a parliamentary commission to disentangle the complex row-cum-scandal involving politicians, police officers and state prosecutors which is centred on the reorganisation of the anti-mafia and anti-organised crime squads (see page six). According to the brief drawn up for the commission, it will have relatively substantial powers and it is to make every effort to address not only the police changes but the accusations levelled at the main players in the affair.
“We have witnessed some strong statements from police representatives and some state prosecutors, which are perturbing us. Therefore we are creating this body to investigate,” said Roman Sklenák, chair of the Social Democratic Party [ČSSD] parliamentary caucus.
The plan is to form a seven-member panel with one member drawn from each parliamentary grouping. It will gradually hear out chiefs of the police presidium, figures from the Organised Crime Unit [ÚOOZ] and representatives of the chief prosecutor’s office in Olomouc. Conclusions should be published in October or November. Given the necessity of protecting classified information that comes under discussion, they are likely to be generalised. Gradually appearing before the commission will be police president Tomáš Tuhý, outgoing ÚOOZ chief Robert Šlachta and Olomouc chief prosecutor Ivo Ištvan. Also giving evidence should be, for instance, ÚOOZ Ostrava branch boss Jiří Komárek. He has lately accused Tuhý of a “gross” leak of information related to economic crimes. In response, Tuhý made a criminal complaint of defamation and other offences against Komárek. MPs will be interested in any information which has caused the rift between ruling coalition partners ČSSD and ANO. All the parties across the political spectrum have welcomed the commission, except ANO. There was a critical response from the formation grouped around ANO leader Andrej Babiš. His parliamentary representatives said the panel “will not function and the investigation will be rather long”. There is speculation that the commission head will be either Civic Democrat Pavel Blažek or ANO’s Helena Válková. Both are former justice ministers. ČSSD said it would not put forward a nominee from its party.