Minister Šlechtova „cleared“ journalists from the committee session on purchase of helicopters. She was explaining the issue for an hour

Minister Šlechtova „cleared“ journalists from the committee session on purchase of helicopters. She was explaining the issue for an hour
Caption: Karla Šlechtová
13 / 03 / 2018, 12:30

At last minute the chairman of the Defense committee Jana Černochová has put on program of the session explanation of minister of defense Karla Šlechtová on purchase of multi-purpose helicopters. Šlechová yet asked to make the point a „V“ level for Restricted (Vyhrazené), and the journalists had to leave the room consequently.

The decision to put the information on the helicopter project as restricted was motivated by the fact that the information covered some nonpublic data,“, Petr Sýkora from the press section of the Ministry of Defense said.

The reporter of the point was deputy Karel Krejza who initiated it’s insertion to the program of the session based on information of the journal Právo. The article reported on protest of a member of the selektion commission due to alleged favouritizm by his colleague towards the American party during selektion of the multi-purpose helicopters. Minister Šlechtová ordered immediate investigation on the matter.

This case was concluded with finding that the complaint of one of the team members concerning conduct of his superior was unfounded,“ the press section answered the question of the SM, and added that it was about unsolved personal conflicts. The tender belongs under the first deputy minister Daniel Koštoval who works at the ministry of defense since 2013. According to reliable sources of our redaction Koštoval’s post is insecure due to delays.

Explanations to the deputies behind closed doors took about an hour and minister of defense was seconded by the chief of the general staff, general Josef Bečvář. During the session some of the committee members left prematurely. „I actually consider the explanation by minister Šlechtová concerning the selektion of helicopters adequate. The restricted regime was well placed,“ vice-president of the committee Radovan Vích (SPD) who stayed till the end of the session said to the SM. According to another member of the committee, Robert Králíček (ANO) it is necessary to stick with the conception and technical requirements of the Czech army.

The tender for about CZK 12 billion outreaches even to the foreign politics of Italy and USA. In december minister Šlechtová met with the new American ambassador to the Czech republic Stephen King. Yet according to her the meeting was not about negotiating on the subject of helicopters, it was a complimentary visit at the occasion of the installation of the new ambassador to his office. Contrary to her predecessor minister Martin Stropnický, Šlechtová did not meet with the Italian ambassador Bartolomeo Lamonarca yet.

Two crafts made it to the final of the tender (marketing research) – the American helicopter Bell UH-1Y and the Italian Augusta by the Leonardo company. The price is better for the Italian party and reaches about CZK 7 billion, but it can rise depending on the equipments. The advantage of the American party are links of the Bell company to the Czech republic. It’s main regional center is based in Prague since several years, and according to the companie’s top management it would, together with the state enterprise LOM (Letecké opravny Malešice) Praha build a servicing and instruction center.

Author: Jan Blažek

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