Police investigate Czech corruption

03 March 2009

Czech Republic police are investigating alleged corruption in the awarding of 30 contracts by the country's Defence Ministry, according to the Czech News Agency (CTK).

The contracts, worth a total of CZK 300 million (€ 10.6 million) relate to small construction and reconstruction works, property maintenance, heating and cleaning.

Defence Ministry spokesman Andrej Cirtek said one-third of the 51 people accused of colluding in the bidding process for the contracts were former ministry staff, with the rest coming from the private sector.

Mr Cirtek said the bids related to contracts awarded in 2005 and 2006, when the office was headed by Karel Kuehnl, head of the now defunct Freedom Union-Democratic Union political party.

If convicted, the accused could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison or face losing property and other assets.

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