published: 22.08.2013, 16:33 | updated: 22.08.2013 17:40:29
Olomouc - The Czech police today proposed that solar fraud charges be filed against Energy Regulatory Office (ERU) chairwoman Alena Vitaskova and another nine people over suspected fraudulent issuing of licences to solar power plants, state attorney Radek Mezlik told CTK.
Mezlik, from the Brno branch of the High State Attorney´s Office in Olomouc, said two solar power plants in the Chomutov area, north Bohemia, seem to have gained licences fraudulently from the ERU before the end of 2010, with the aim to achieve higher prices of the energy to be sold.
Vitaskova, who took up the post of ERU chairwoman only in July 2011, told CTK that she would not comment on the affair.
In a recent media interview, Vitaskova dismissed the accusation, calling it a part of an expedient campaign aimed to harm the ERU and her personally.
"The police have handed the criminal file to me today along with a proposal to ask [the court] to bring charges against all ten suspects, including ERU head Vitaskova...I expect the request to be submitted within a few weeks," Mezlik said.
The police say the group of suspects tried to gain the licences and connect the two power plants to the grid by end-2010 though both plants were still under construction and they were completed only in 2011.
Licences issued before end-2010 guaranteed markedly higher prices for energy buyout than those issued in 2011.
If the fraud had not been uncovered, it would have caused 1.9 billion worth of damage to the state in the next 20 years, as the two solar plants´ monthly buyout prices would be 50 percent higher, the police said.
The suspects include representatives of the investors and constructors of the solar plants involved, who are prosecuted for fraud or attempted fraud.
Other prosecuted persons are ERU employees.
Vitaskova was in March accused of assisting to an abuse of power. The police say she knew about the previous personal and business contacts of the ERU´s licensing section head with the person that negotiated with the ERU on behalf of the two solar plants.
The section head decided on leaving the unlawful licences in effect, the police said.
Vitaskova said in the latest issue of the weekly Tyden that the prosecution is evidently aimed to divert her efforts from what she considers her main task, which is the unveiling of all circumstances linked to the state support to renewable sources of energy.
In the past, Vitaskova accused the former ERU management of having set more generous state support to renewable sources than what the law required.
Vitaskova also told Tyden that someone manipulated pieces of evidence in her disfavour and that money has been collected to achieve her discrediting or career liquidation.
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