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Czech Human Rights Minister says Govt will sign contract to buy pig farm on Roma genocide site next week

10.9.2017 10:05
Czech Human Rights Minister Jan Chvojka (left) and Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman (right) on 13 May 2017 at Lety u Písku (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)
Czech Human Rights Minister Jan Chvojka (left) and Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman (right) on 13 May 2017 at Lety u Písku (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

The Czech Government will sign a contract with the AGPI firm next week to buy the pig farm in Lety u Písku that stands on the site of a former Protectorate-era concentration camp for Romani people. It will take at least half a year before the farm will be actually handed over to the state.

The Government will publicize the price the state is paying for the farm after the contract is signed. Czech Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation Jan Chvojka announced the news in an interview for the Radiožurnál station of public broadcaster Czech Radio.

Chvojka did not want to specify the cost of the farm. From his statements and from information that Romea.cz has learned, it seems the state will be paying around CZK 440 million [EUR 16.8 million] for the farm.

"If I have correct information from the Culture Minister, the contract should be signed next week," Chvojka said in the interview, adding that the signature will apparently happen on Wednesday, 13 September. "The actual handover of the pig farm into the hands of the state will not happen until half a year later because there are business contracts open for delivery of the pigs that must be fulfilled through that time."

Chvojka refused for now to publicize the price of the buyout because the Government has negotiated the purchase under a so-called reserved regime. "Unfortunately, I am not able to say [the price]. The police would come after me if that were broadcast, because the material was negotiated in a reserved regime - the amount will eventually be publicized, certain we are not keeping anything secret, but it won't be publicized until the specific contract has been signed," he said when asked by his interviewer what the cost would be.

"I do not want to speak on behalf of the Culture Minister, he was basically the main person who advocated for that point, but I anticipate that it will be publicised immediately on the day of the signing," Chvojka said. He rejected the speculation that the cost would approximate a billion Czech crowns, as Czech President Miloš Zeman has alleged.

"President Zeman has overshot the mark quite significantly, the amount is not even half that," Chvojka told Czech Radio. According to information obtained by news server Romea.cz, the cost of buying the farm should be around CZK 440 million [EUR 16.8 million].

"That was, naturally, a matter of negotiation between the Government, or rather, the Culture Ministry, my ministry, and the owners. I believe that amount could have been significantly higher, but thanks to the skillfulness of our negotations it ultimately will not be," Chvojka said.

According to the Human Rights Minister it was the AGPI firm, which owns the pig farm, that requested the negotiations be held in a reserved regime. "That was on the basis of an agreement between Culture Minister Herman and the current owners of the industrial pig farm because they did not want the negotiations, especially about the amount, to be written about or, or spoken about, because they were afraid that would jeopardize the outcome," he said.

The Government definitively decided at the end of August that the Czech Republic would buy the pig farm at Lety u Písku currently standing on the site of a former Protectorate-era concentration camp for Romani people. The AGPI firm accepted the Government's offer in mid-August and, after the purchase agreement to sell the facility to the state is signed, shareholders in AGPI will have to give their agreement to the sale at a general meeting.

The transfer of the farm to the state was voted on by a previous general meeting on 31 July at which 88 % of the shareholders attending were in favor of the sale. At the next general meeting they will be asked whether they still agree with the handover of the farm to the state.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Holocaust, Jan Chvojka, Lety u Písku, pietní místo



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