Prague - An anti-corruption team is being formed at the Czech Defence Ministry due to disadvantageous military purchases from the past, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) told reporters today, adding that the new three-member team will be subordinate directly to him.
Ministr obrany Martin Stropnický přichází na zasedání vlády, které se uskutečnilo 28. dubna v Praze. ČTK Krumphanzl Michal
The Defence Ministry will also put up new tenders for some significant contracts, mainly in the IT area, he added.
The team will consist of people who have been working at the ministry and have dealt with corruption in the minister´s inspection.
"I want to be able to turn to these people with particular cases," Stropnicky said.
The team should be officially established at the beginning of July, Defence Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek added.
Stropnicky also said he had ordered an audit of 22 contracts worth over 100 million crowns each, that is 15.5 billion crowns in total.
The ministry will put up new tenders for some of them, or it will try to negotiate more advantageous prices.
In the next three years, the ministry plans to save money by halting a few projects worth over one billion crowns, for instance, the construction of the Defence University´s campus for 500 million crowns and the reconstruction of the Military History Institute for 400 million crowns.
The saved money should go to the purchases of soldiers´ equipment and repairs.
The ministry will save 285 million crowns in operational costs this year, Stropnicky noted.
The savings might be the reason for a further increase in the Defence Ministry´s budget for 2015, he added.
At present, the defence budget is projected at 43.5 billion crowns. The draft state budget for 2015 original counted with the defence expenditure cuts of 0.5 billion crowns from 41.8 billion to 41.3 billion.
The Czech Republic annually spends over 1 percent of GDP on defence. However, when entering NATO in 1999, it pledged to allocate at least 2 percent of GDP to armed forces.
The NATO command has repeatedly criticised Prague´s low defence expenditure.