Prague will take action against corruption: employees will be required to report conflicts of interest
In the past, Prague companies attracted corruption like a magnet, and there were cases of dubious use of public money. The capital now wants companies operating with billions in budgets to start managing their assets better. “We are implementing the anti-corruption standard ISO 37001 to make the city society more credible. It is a safe guarantee that corruption risks in city companies are significantly reduced, “Prague Councilor Adam Zábranský told SZ Byznys.
The councilor has already approved a resolution imposing the implementation of the anti-corruption system ISO 37001, which is an anti-corruption management system, on municipal joint-stock companies. It will be implemented by a transport company, ICT Operator (Lítačka operator), Pražská plynárenská Holding, Pražská vodohospodářská společnost, Prague Services, Technical Administration of Roads and Technology of the Capital City of Prague, and by the middle of this year companies should tell how to do it.
It is a company that controls 100 percent of Prague and which provides infrastructure services for the city – whether it is transport, water distribution, or the management of public lighting or roads. At the same time, these are companies with a turnover in the order of billions of crowns.
“It is a robust system that addresses, for example, gifts, entertainment, conflicts of interest, competitive earnings, communication with business partners, screening of employees or business partners,” says Leopold Černý of Screening Solutions, a consulting company that helps companies to introduce.
What is the ISO 37001 standard
– the aim of the standard is to help organizations create, implement and continuously improve the anti-corruption management system in order to effectively prevent and address corruption
– the measures required to control the internationally required ISO 37001 standards constitute global anti-corruption “good” practice and the framework agreements are based on international anti-corruption legislation, such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the British Bribery Act or the Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) anti-corruption principles, and United Nations (UN)
– focus on corruption and bribes also provided to accepted organizations from the private and public sectors, including bribery through third parties; in practice, for example, it is a matter of not only two eyes seeing one document, but four, etc.
– Certification holders include, for example, the French bank Crédit Agricole, the city of Montreal and Alstom
Source: Screening Solutions
Probably the most pressing problem of city companies is, according to Černý, public procurement. “This is related to the screening of partners and financial and non-financial controls in order to minimize the space and scenarios for corruption,” adds Černý, who previously worked for the anti-corruption police. According to him, employees of municipal companies will be obliged to proactively report conflicts of interest, ie that they are not impartial and independent. If they do not report them, they may subsequently face employment law and, in the most serious cases, criminal sanctions.
This should not be the case as the one notified to the Message List a few days ago. The Pragoprojekt company signed contracts with Central Bohemian road workers for almost a quarter of a billion. The owner’s son works as a road administration manager. The contracting authority was the Central Bohemian Region, however, the principle is the same as for municipal companies.
Since the introduction of certification, Prague politicians have been promising to clean up city companies and their business partners, as well as to reduce dubious orders. Such as the one for servicing the metro set for 14.6 billion crowns, which they checked at the beginning of last year. Councilor Hana Marvanová (STAN) then demanded the dismissal of the head of the transport company, Petr Witowski. Třenice was at the municipality last year also for the payment of royalties in Pražská plynárenská, and the management of the company was criticized by the mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates).
For example, the Austrian construction company PORR, which also operates in the Czech Republic, currently has an international anti-corruption certificate. In the Czech Republic, it was acquired by the water company Pražské vodovody a kanalizace of the French company Veolia. The purchasing department at ČEZ also undergoes a certification audit. “The certification audit is performed by the renowned company KPMG Germany. At present, the first phase of the certification audit, which was focused on the evaluation of documentation, has been completed. The second phase, which requires a visit of auditors directly to ČEZ, will begin as soon as the pandemic situation allows, ”says ČEZ spokesman Ladislav Kříž.