Czech Republic: Criminal investigation to be sought over Romani Democratic Party's annual report
Czech MPs from the Audit Committee in the lower house, which is in charge of monitoring political parties' annual reports, are of the opinion that the annual financial report of the Romani Democratic Party for 2015 contains a falsified auditor's statement. The MPs are apparently planning to file a criminal report in the matter.
On Thursday the committee tasked its chair, Czech MP Vladimír Koníček (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia - KSČM) with filing such a report. According to the Romani Democratic Party, an accountant is responsible for the problem.
Financial reports for last year have been delivered to the lower house by 138 movements and parties out of a total of 244 political groups that were registered with the Czech Interior Ministry by the end of 2015. "With respect to the Romani Democratic Party, the Audit Committee suspects its auditor's report was falsified because it is signed by an auditor who was removed from the auditors' list a year and a half ago. The report also does not have an original stamp, but one that has been cut out of another document and pasted into this auditor's report," Koníček told the Czech News Agency.
Miroslav Tancoš, chair of the Romani Democratic Party, told the Czech News Agency that an externally contracted accountant caused the problem by using materials from previous years and embezzling the money set aside for the auditor's fee. He asserted that neither the party's leadership nor its members were responsible for the error.
The party says it is now hiring a new auditor to correct the annual report. The lower house committee has now suspended its review of the financial reports to give some parties time to provide supplementary information.
Seven movements and parties provided the lower house with audits verifying their financial statements but did not provide the statements themselves. One such party is the Liberal Environmental Party chaired by former Czech Environment Minister Martin Bursík.
"If only former Minister Bursík would file a proper annual report instead of running around Prague with the Tibetan flag," Koníček commented to the Czech News Agency on the finding. Another party, instead of providing a donor's date of birth, reported only that the donor had passed away.
The committee assessed that lack of information as a flaw as well. It also received an annual financial report from a party that had been removed from the official registry, the Freedom Union - Democratic Union (Unie svobody - Demokratické unie).
Other parties have asked the committee chair if it is possible to receive donations from their supporters by SMS message. Koníčka says it is not because it is not possible to identify such a donor.
Should any of the parties not submit documentation after repeated summons to do so, that party runs the risk of having its activity suspended or, in extreme cases, of being abolished altogether. The submission of a complete report is a condition for the state to disburse the legally-prescribed contributions from public funds to the movements and parties eligible for state support.
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