13th January 2013

Government: transparent property management approved

On 9 January, the government approved amendments to the Act on Municipalities (zákon o obcích), the Act on Regions (zákon o krajích), and the Act on the Capital City of Prague (zákon o hlavním městě Praze). The aim of the amendments is to clarify duties of municipal and regional public officials, concerning the property management of respective regions and municipalities. The Bill stipulates stricter conditions under which the public officials may dispose of public property (municipal, regional). To change the proprietary, the local authority is obliged to make use of public auction or competition. Any further means of sell are allowed under stipulated conditions that should be explained. Further, the Bill introduces the legal responsibility of the officials in case that any financial damage occurs. The municipalities are obliged to publicize any contracts that deal with municipal property so that the property structure could be under the public control. The Bill also stipulates the necessity of issuing the binding ethical code for any public officials at the municipal and regional level. 
The Bill has been prepared by the Ministry of Interior in accordance with the governmental anti-corruption strategy. NGOs, primarily the Transparency International, have previously claimed that the intended Bill treats risks of corruption insufficiently. Therefore, the Transparency International made a motion to stipulate an enhance function of the public prosecutor with regards to the municipal property. The public prosecutor disposes the right of law suit to nullify public contracts that have been made by the local authorities, and that cause financial and property damage to the municipality.
The Bill is heading to the Chamber of Deputies.
For further information regarding the Bill, click here (explanatory report); the Transparency International previous position (April, 2011) read here.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic