Current Affairs Single guilty verdict in spying and graft scandal that felled government puts State Attorney’s Office under fire
A year after the spying and graft scandal that brought down the centre-right government of prime minister Petr Nečas, a Prague court has delivered the first –and by all accounts only -guilty verdict in the case. The former prime minister’s close aide and now wife Jana Nečasová, formerly Nagyová, was found guilty of abusing the country’s military intelligence by getting it to secretly spy on the prime minister’s then wife Radka. The charges against six other people appear to have fallen apart, putting the Chief State Attorney’s Office in a tight spot.
It was described as the biggest political scandal in the country’s history. A night police raid at government offices, ministries and private villas resulted in charges of corruption and abuse of office against half a dozen people close to then prime minister Petr Nečas, including his chief-of-staff and the current and former heads of the military intelligence. The scandal shook the country’s political establishment and deeply undermined public trust in politics, opening the way for early elections.
However twelve months on, there is little to show for what the State Attorney’s Office presented as its biggest coup ever. The former prime minister’s chief of staff, who was having an affair with him at the time, was found guilty of abusing the country’s military intelligence to further her own ends. She was given a one-year suspended sentence and a four-year ban on working in public service in a simplified court procedure. The military intelligence officers charged in the case were acquitted since no ill-intent could be proven. Two of them may still be punished under a military disciplinary procedure. The state attorney has said he will appeal the ruling, meaning that a full trial will have to be held, though it is not clear whether the state attorney’s office has any further incriminating evidence pertinent to the case.
Allegations of widespread corruption in government –centring on accusations that the former prime minister had bribed three Civic Democrat deputies to give a crucial bill smooth passage through parliament – have also fizzled out after a court ruled that the three MPs who allegedly accepted bribes were covered by parliamentary immunity. And an investigation into alleged close links between the prime minister and influential Prague “godfathers” has also yielded few tangible results.
The Civic Democratic Party, which has failed to recover from the fatal blow it was dealt by the 2013 corruption scandal is calling for the chief state attorney’s head, but the Olomouc state attorney who masterminded the case says the battle is not over and claims that a full, open trial will prove that last year’s police crack-down on high placed public officials was fully justified.