City Hall cancels fine imposed on Czech PM over Babis´s screening


25.06.2014 10:36

Prague - The Prague City Hall has cancelled the fine imposed on Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) for having proposed Andrej Babis (ANO) for finance minister without a lustration certificate, the Government Office´s press section told CTK today.


Předseda vlády Bohuslav Sobotka. ČTK Doležal Michal

The City Hall has also halted the disciplinary proceedings with Sobotka that the Prague 1 authority launched and in which it imposed a fine, allegedly 10,000 crowns, on him.

Sobotka, who appealed the fine, said he welcomed the Prague City Hall´s decision. It respects the rule of law, he added

"I am convinced that this decision is the only possible step that is fully in harmony with valid laws. Unlike the previous decision by the Prague 1 authority, it is not based on the effort to assess political decisions in administrative delict proceedings, but it strictly follows legal standards," Sobotka said.

The Prague City Hall justified its decision saying under the lustration law the body that appoints a government member is to require a lustration certificate, which is the president in this case. This is why an administrative delict could not have been committed, the Government Office said, citing the decision.

Prague 1 launched the proceedings against Sobotka in reaction to a complaint from a Prague resident, who addressed two complaints to it in mid-March.

The first one challenged the appointment of billionaire businessman Babis as finance minister by President Milos Zeman though Babis had not produced a lustration certificate that candidates for ministers have been used to submit.

The other questioned the nomination of Babis by Sobotka in his capacity as prime minister designate.

The lustration certificate proves that the candidate neither collaborated with the pre-1989 communist secret police (StB) nor was the pre-1989 Communist Party's (KSC) high functionary.

Slovak-born food and media tycoon Babis is registered as an informer and later an agent of the StB in its files that are preserved in Slovakia.

He, however, claims that the documents were fabricated and sues the Slovak Nation's Memory Institute (UPN), administering the security forces' files.

A court in Bratislava may issue a verdict in the dispute this week.

($1=20.157 crowns)

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