Czech Railways general inspector removed from office

The board of directors of Czech Railways has decided not to renew the contract of its general inspector, Kvetoslava Korinkova. The board says it's been unhappy with Korinkova's performance for some time. But according to reports in the media, she's being removed because of her criticism of the prime minister's advisors and their efforts to influence lucrative public tenders for railway construction. Vladimir Tax has more:

Kvetoslava Korinkova was appointed as General Inspector of Czech Railways two years ago, when her husband, Antonin Peltram, became minister of transport. Despite the personal ties, Korinkova was generally considered well-qualified for the job, as she has been working in the transport industry since 1972, including several years spent at the Ministry of Transport. From 1990 to 1992, she was the Czechoslovak minister of audits, a ministry supervising other state institutions.

Back in 1998, the ruling Social Democratic Party pinned their hopes on Korinkova as the new General Inspector of Czech Railways. She promised to investigate some rather murky practices on the railways, a clean up which would, in theory, contribute to the success of the government's large-scale anti-corruption campaign. The Czech Railways board of directors says, however, that she failed to deliver on her commitment. They also object to the fact that in several cases, she informed the prime minister about her findings, instead of the board.

Some in the media have speculated that the prime minister's chief advisor, Miroslav Slouf, a former high-ranking communist and a very influential figure in the Social Democratic Party, might be behind Korinkova's removal, because she sharply criticised attempts by some of the prime minister's advisors to influence lucrative public tenders on the railways. Her husband, the former Transport Minister Antonin Peltram, who also criticised these unacceptable practices, was removed from his post earlier this year.

However, Korinkova claims no-one has explained the official reasons for her dismissal. And so she'll be running for the post of General Inspector again, in a selection procedure which the board of directors has to call before the end of the year.