published: 16.02.2014, 16:36 | updated: 16.02.2014 16:47:00
Prague - Czech Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka´s (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) decision to name former Government Office head Lubomir Poul as director of his office was rather unfortunate, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said in a debate on Czech Television today.
Last summer, the police shortly detained Poul in connection with the corruption and illegal surveillance scandal of Jana Nagyova, the closest aide and mistress of the then prime minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS).
No charges were filed against Poul, however.
"I sought a professional clerk. His predecessor left the post on the day I arrived at the ministry. All of a sudden, my office was without a head," Jurecka told the server Lidovky.cz on Saturday to explain his choice of Poul.
Sobotka´s centre-left cabinet of the CSSD, ANO and the KDU-CSL was appointed on January 29. The KDU-CSL has three seats in the 17-member cabinet.
Sobotka today said Jurecka´s choice surprised him.
True, it is up to individual ministers to choose senior clerks, he admitted.
Nevertheless, in view of Poul´s past, Sobotka said he does not consider Jurecka´s decision fortunate and he will tell his opinion to him.
Poul is not among the suspects prosecuted in the Nagyova case. In October the police summoned him for questioning as a witness but he declined to give his testimony.
Nagyova´s scandal led to the Necas cabinet´s collapse last June.
Nagyova, now Necasova as she married Necas in the meantime, is suspected of bribing three ODS rebel deputies into giving up their mandates in exchange for lucrative posts, and of abusing military intelligence to spy on the then wife of Necas.
Earlier this week, the police filed corruption charges against Necas over the bribing of ODS rebels as well.
Poul, 49, a graduate from Brno´s Technical University´s electrotechnical faculty, headed the then prime minister Necas´s office in 2010-2013. Before, he held various posts at the Industry and Trade Ministry. He is a member of the supervisory board of the giant state-controlled CEZ energy utility.
The media mentioned Poul in 2010 in connection with the case of suspected corruption at the ODS-controlled Environment Ministry. The police checked whether Poul committed crime by failing to report corrupt practices, but they shelved the case.
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