Nine People Charged Following Police Raid On Brno-Střed Council Offices
Police officers from the National Centre Against Organized Crime (NCOZ) raided the offices of the Brno-Střed Council on Thursday morning, and the offices have remained closed since then while police carry out their investigations. Searches were also carried out at offices of the Office for the Protection of Competition (ÚOHS), the Czech anti-monopoly watchdog. Following a number of arrests, nine people were charged overnight, with charges including participation in organized crime groups, the payment of bribes connected with public procurement, and other bribery offences. Photo credit: KK.
Brno, Mar 8 (BD) – According to Jaroslav Ibehej, spokesman for NCOZ: “Investigators have uncovered evidence related to the unlawful influencing of public procurement contracts commissioned by the City of Brno-Střed Authorities, and in connection with this, nine people were charged in the evening and night from Thursday to Friday.” Further action related to the case is expected over the weekend.
According to Czech media outlets, one of those arrested was former deputy mayor and member of the advisory board of ČD Cargo, Jiří Švachula (ANO). According to Novinky.cz, Švachula works at the Office for the Protection of Competition (ÚOHS), the Czech anti-monopoly watchdog, as a member of the decommissioning committee supervising the awarding of public contracts in Brno.
Police arrived at the Brno-Střed offices on Dominikanské náměstí in the early hours of Thursday morning with a van and two police cars, and entered the building, seizing computers. The building remained closed to the public all day, though other council offices in the city remained open. The closure led to the cancellation of a press conference of the city council scheduled for 9am, and around 200 of the council’s 330 staff stayed at home, according to Brno local daily Brněnská drbna.
The Brno-střed city district is one of the largest and most populous in the city, with around 90,000 inhabitants. The budget for this year was over CZK 800 million. Vojtěch Mencl (ODS) became the mayor of the district following last year’s municipal elections, heading a coalition formed by ODS, ANO and KDU-ČSL. The incoming coalition replaced the previous coalition consisting of Žít Brno, ANO, KDU-ČSL, and the Greens.
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