Minister creates commission to audit church restitution

The Social Democrat minister of agriculture, Miroslav Toman, is creating a commission to oversee an audit relating to the restitution of church property, the newspaper Právo reported on Saturday. Mr. Toman told the daily that the commission – due to start work at the end of this month – would focus on the forestry agency Lesy ČR and other bodies under his ministry that had in the past handed anything over to churches under divisive legislation passed five years ago.

The recently installed government of ANO and the Social Democrats say that financial settlements made to churches in lieu of property seized by the Communists after 1948 should be taxed. That was a demand of the present-day Communist Party for supporting the minority coalition on key votes. Critics say the move is akin to imposing a charge on a robbery victim.

Author: Ian Willoughby