PM, high state prosecutor, testify before parliamentary commission

Parliamentary commission, photo: CTK

Five people, including the prime minister and the high state prosecutor in Olomouc Ivo Ištvan, testified before a parliamentary commission on Tuesday on the subject of leaks from police files. The commission was called to investigate following the leak of internal police information in taped conversations between a journalist and ANO leader Andrej Babiš.

Bohuslav Sobotka,  photo: Khalil Baalbaki
The leak of information from police files is a serious problem which needs to be stopped, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka made clear on Tuesday as he testified before a parliamentary commission. According to the prime minister, his appearance before the commission was brief and to the point - here’s what he had to say:

“Above all, it’s important that the police and state prosecutors’ offices function properly. If the commission finds that there need to be changes to existing legislation, it is obviously something which will have to be taken up by MPS in the next lower house. The legislative process for this period is at an end.”

The prime minister also discussed his powers regarding the General Inspectorate of the Security Services, and steps the government has taken to deal with the problem and how BIS, the state security service, has been used. After the testimony, the prime minister was followed by high state prosecutor Ivo Ištvan. He denied flat-out that prosecutors were in any way responsible for information leaks. He explained that control mechanisms in place prevented that from happening.

“I rejected claims heard in the past that the state prosecutors’ office was somehow the ‘weak’ link. I informed MPs about existing inner and outer controls over how information was treated. The Office for Personal Data Protection also did not find any mistakes.”

Others who testified on Tuesday were two former police officers and the head of the government’s National Drug Headquarters, Jakub Frydrych. They did not comment. The head of the commission, an MP for TOP 09, Martin Plíšek did. He summed up Tuesday’s proceedings after the session was wrapped up.

Parliamentary commission,  photo: CTK
“The testimonies by witnesses gave us a look into the problem of illegal leaks from police files. This time we saw the perspective of Olomouc’s high state prosecutor. After hearing from representatives from the state prosecutors’ office, the police, and others, we will be able to reach a conclusion and to make recommendations for the future.”

The commission will meet again next week, when it will hear from Prague chief state prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová and Justice Minister Robert Pelikán (of ANO). It will make public its conclusions by September 12.