Czech Businessman Resists Corruption
PRAGUE—A Czech businessman refused to bribe two officials, instead reporting them to the police. His actions came amid recent corruption scandals that have proliferated Czech upper political ranks lately.
The intensity of the corruption cases and the effect of the recent crackdown on corruption culminated in last week’s resignation of Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas.
Tomas Kastil and his wife, Ludmila, own a restaurant in Prague. When two inspectors from the government’s employment office inspected the business, they found some minor infractions, including not having work contracts for the staff on the premises.
Kastil said the officials offered an alternative to recording and processing the infractions—he could pay 50,000 crowns ($2,500) into their pockets.
Kastil refused to pay. He was given one week to make a final decision. “The inspectors threatened no one will be able to get me out of this,” Kastil said in a video released recently by the nongovernmental organization National Fund Against Corruption (NFPK).
NFPK’s motto is “Have no fear and do not steal, [refuse to] steal without fear.”
Kastil persisted and filed an official complaint with the police. As he worried the local police might gang up with the officials, he also contacted another station. The case was then handed to the economic crime division, which reacted swiftly to arrest the employment office officials.
“I find the cooperation with the police very good, I was really surprised,” Kastil said. “They really are interested in fighting the corruption. The case didn’t get tucked away in a drawer, instead they went and handled it with zest.”
He spoke of the indignation that urged him to stand up to corruption: “I was psyched up by one thing—that sort of healthy anger at the system. We pay this system from our taxes, and then these officials come and dare to ask for more money in the form of a bribe. It was challenging and took a lot of my time, but after deciding to do it I have no regrets.”