Annual report 2013

Brief summary of our activities in 2013

In line with our mission of protecting the public interest and promoting efficiency and accountability in the Czech society, Transparency
International Czech Republic (TI) continued to use its experience and knowledge to initiate development of effective anti-corruption policies and to  lobby politicians and public offi cials for necessary reforms. We also keep striving to achieve greater levels of engagement in society – including individual citizens – in uncovering corrupt practices and advocating for transparency and accountability of public institutions.

Promoting more eff ective anticorruption strategies, solutions and legislation

Our long-term goal is to help create and enforce legal frameworks that will discourage corrupt behaviour and increase the likelihood of sentencing and punishment for offenders. We welcome opportunities to present our views and participate in public debates, media discussions, workshops and conferences or specifi c working groups. This year, we focused on some key areas where effective legislation is desperately needed: adoption of new legislation that will reduce non-transparent practices in political party fi nancing and introduce a reliable system of oversight with appropriate sanctions; public administration reform with special emphasis on effective law on civil servants; and judicial reform with an emphasis on the law on Public Prosecutor’s Offi ce. Our activities aim to make the Czech judiciary more transparent and less dependent on political will. For some years now, TI has been striving to ensure that commitments to introduce transparency and accountability into political party fi nancing are translated into actions, enforcement and results. As a part of our activities in this area, we monitored parliamentary electoral campaigns in October 2013. We monitored 9 political parties with the highest electoral potential based on 10 best practice criteria. The results of the project are available at www.transparentnivolby.cz.
In 2013, TI continued with its involvement in the Reconstruction of the State initiative. Instead of mere criticism of the state’s practices, it offers a concrete programme to give anti-corruption efforts a new impulse by selecting nine legislative proposals that could realistically be adopted by the Government within the current electoral period. Law on the abolition of anonymous shares had already been passed. Fordetailed information, see www.rekonstrukcestatu.cz.

Increasing empowerment of citizens to take action against corruption

We recognize the key role that individual citizens or employees playin stopping corruption. Through our project activities, educational materials and  our Advocacy & Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) we strive to empower individuals to take a stand against corruption. In 2013, ALAC handled 645 complaints and pursued 46 new cases. TI lawyers and legal assistants provide people with information, guidance on relevant legislation and procedures and in some eligible cases also with long-term legal assistance. In 2013, we published an analysis of 247 judicial decisions concerning bribery from 2010 to 2012.
We are also continuing our efforts to increase awareness about whistleblowing and related issues of whistleblower protection. We keep trying to educate both general and expert public and to this end, we set up a website www.whistleblower.cz which aims to activate potential whistleblowers among civil servants. In 2013, the ALAC team also acted as a strategic partner for the Czech Railways (CR) Compliance Department, and operated the CR’s internal mechanism through which the employees could report wrongdoing at their workplace.
In October 2013, we completed the “Civil Anti-Corruption SelfDefence Courses” (KOPS) project which consisted of a series of public debates, seminars for regional civic activists, and a set of educational materials. The courses were held in 8 regions of the Czech Republic and they targeted some sensitive or topical issue in the city or region such as management of municipal property, the possibility of public scrutiny by citizens, or the right to free access
to information. The evaluation of the project by the participants was overwhelmingly positive. The training materials complemented the main project activities – guide for course participants Citizens against Corruptions (including illustrative case reports and legal explanation), In a Corruption Network gamebook that allows readers to test how they might behave in a corruption situation and a popular board game, Among Godfathers, which shows people what it is like to infl uence government contracts, fi ght for infl uence over politicians or blackmail competitors.

Uncovering corrupt practices, exposing concrete cases

In its fourth year of operation, our “Watchdog” team has been transformed into an effective working group focused on investigation, Transparency International ČR / Výroční zpráva 2013 37 monitoring and assessment of corruption practices and clientelist networks in the Czech Republic. Besides the legal steps or actions taken in individual cases we believe that the project has a strong preventive effect.
In 2013, our investigative team has focused on money laundering and international networks in offshore destinations. One of our strategic successes in this fi eld is established international cooperation based on the exchange of information. We have discovered that in the last fi ve years at least 200 billion CZK from public resources went to anonymous companies and offshore companies. Moreover, these companies got more than six billion CZK from EU funds. There were several cases where our activities led to the exposure of suspicious or criminal practices. We fi led a criminal complaint against the state company Lesy ČR which led to the prosecution of the head of its IT department. We have also exposed further instances of suspicious public procurement (for example, in Beroun, Unhost and Cidlina) which led to the initiation of criminal proceedings.

Sharing our expertise

TI continues to support anti-corruption activities in other countries and spreads the expertise and experience that we have gained over the years. In Ukraine, we implemented the Minimum Standards of Transparency of Public Procurement project. In 2013, the Minimum Standards were finalized and published in both print and electronic format. They were presented to representatives of local authorities during an international seminar in Lviv in April.
Another major project activity was a study visit of representativesof the Berdyansk, Lviv, and Nikolaev municipalities along with the
representatives of TI Ukraine in the Czech Republic. It included meetings at the ministries, with representatives of civic associations and management of municipalities. One of the main activities in the second half of the project was the signing of the Memorandum which showed commitment of the Lviv municipality to adhere to the Minimum Standards. At the same time, other 6 cities expressed their commitment to implement the Minimum Standards in their public procurement practice. TI Czech Republic also participated in the Path to the Law project – support of anti-corruption activities in Egypt, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic within the Transition
Promotion Programme (TRANS). In close collaboration with the nongovernmental organization Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), TI organized two workshops in Egypt and a study visit to the Czech Republic. Workshop participants focused on the problem of corruption, freedom of access to information and freedom of expression and became familiar with practical aspects of fi ghting against corruption in the Czech Republic in a way that will allow them to use this experience in the transition process in Egypt. We also continued our cooperation with the representatives of the Montenegrin Ministry of Justice in a project funded by the United Nations Development Fund. In June 2013, we organized the exchange of experience between the representatives of the Czech Ministry of Justice, the Public Prosecutor’s Offi ce, the Police Headquarter
of the Czech Republic and judges of the Municipal Court in Prague and their Montenegrin counterparts. The main issue discussed was the international judicial cooperation in criminal matters at both the European and international level.

Your support is invaluable in making it all possible

While being a part of TI global network, TI-Czech Republic has to fi nd resources to fi nance our operation and activities locally. We express our sincere gratitude to all our institutional donors, companies and individuals, without whose fi nancial contributions our activities would not have been possible, or at the very least would have been substantially limited. We are very pleased to see a growing support from individuals and companies. By the end of 2013, Transparency International Club had 144 individual members (32 newly registered in 2013) and 11 business members. Their fi nancial contributions amounted to 825 755,00 CZK. The donations amount to more than 10% of our total budget. This kind of support is extremely valuable. It allows us to be more fl exible in our reactions to topical issues and it also enables us to get involved in long-term or controversial projects (for example, watchdog activities and investigation of corruption cases).
Our budget was 11 839 269,94 CZK in 2013 (basic fi nancial information and detailed list of grants and projects in Czech language is available on pages 25–34). Our 2013 fi nancial statements were audited in accordance with accounting and other relevant legislation valid in the Czech Republic.

Get involved: Join TI Club or make a donation!

Join a group of people who do not want to just keep reading about more and more cases of corruption and who have decided to support anti-corruption efforts actively – become a member of the Transparency International Club. Go to www.transparency.cz/klub formore details.