Prague police chief arrested, contracts frozen in anti-corruption sting
The mayor of Prague has frozen all contracts signed by the City Police force and ordered a full investigation after the head of the force was arrested last week on suspicion of accepting a bribe. Vladimír Kotrouš, Prague City Police force president, is now in custody after anti-organised crime taskforce arrested him with a large amount of cash on his person.
Mr Kotrouš was apprehended near the headquarters of a company which provides the police with towing services, fuelling speculation that the alleged bribe was for awarding the contract to the company. However Pavel Hanták, spokesman for the elite anti-organised crime unit in charge of the case, told Czech Television he was unable to comment on the claims for risk of jeopardising the investigation:
Vladimír Kotrouš could face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty; the case is likely to go to trial sometime in the spring. It would be the highest profile corruption case involving a serving police officer in Czech history.
Mr Kotrouš’s boss, Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, has suspended him and also moved him to a different department until the criminal case is resolved. Mayor Svoboda has also ordered all contracts signed by the City Police to be frozen and investigated. Under local law all contracts over two million crowns - that’s just over 100,000 dollars – must be subject to a public tender, but anything under that amount can be awarded at the police’s discretion. The City Police have so far signed 30 such contracts in 2011 – including the purchase of pistols and mini-cameras. All are now likely to be closely scrutinised.