Minister sacks head of military acquisitions section

Prague, Dec 3 (CTK) – Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra has as of December 4 dismissed Jiri Stanek as head of the ministry’s section for military equipment acquisitions, the ministry’s press department told CTK Friday.

The change has been a part of the general replacement of the ministry’s top management. It also ensues from the ongoing changes in the system of military purchases, the ministry said.

Petr Szoenyi, Vondra’s adviser for acquisitions, will temporarily take over the post vacated by Stanek.

Purchases of equipment for the Czech military have recently come under criticism as opaque and overpriced.

After becoming minister this July, Vondra (Civic Democrats, ODS) said he was determined to do away with corruption at the ministry and to carry out the government’s policy of austerity measures.

The ODS did not hold the post of defence minister in the past decade, with the exception of the interim cabinet in 2009-2010 when the post was held by Martin Bartak, the ODS’s nominee but not party member. A few weeks ago, suspicion emerged that Bartak asked for a bribe in connection with the military acquisition of the Tatra lorries, in his position as deputy defence minister in early 2008.

“In connection with the general replacement of the Defence Ministry management and with the ongoing changes in the acquisition procedure, Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra has decided to make personnel changes at the top of the ministry’s armament section,” the press department said in a press release.

After becoming minister this July, Vondra (Civic Democrats, ODS) made more personnel changes in the ministry’s management.

In early November he dismissed Jan Fulik as deputy defence minister and replaced him with Jiri Sedivy, former NATO assistant secretary general for defence policy and planning.

According to available information, Fulik was behind the contract with the EADS concern on the exchange of Czech subsonic fighters L-159 for a transport plane CASA.

Previously, Vondra dismissed another of his deputies, Frantisek Padelek, and replaced him with Michael Hrbata, former ODS MP.

In summer, Vondra appointed Frantisek Nadymacek a new director of the institute supervising acquisitions. Nadymacek replaced Roman Hosta, who was sacked over suspicious orders placed by the Military Housing Authority.

Vondra also chose Pavel Bulant as the new head of the minister’s cabinet.