Anti-corruption police shelve another case
Tůmová investigation closed despite leaked video showing bribery
Posted: July 13, 2011
After eight months of investigation, the police's Unit for Combating Corruption and Financial Crime (ÚOKFK) has shelved a case of former Brno-North Deputy Mayor Zuzana Tůmová (Social Democrats, ČSSD), who allegedly accepted a 100,000 Kč bribe from businessman David Lacík.
The decision to drop the case has sparked controversy as a video has surfaced that clearly shows Tůmová accepting a large stack of 1,000 Kč bank notes. While the incident occurred in October 2010, the video has since made the rounds on the Internet, with Lacík clearly saying "these are for the roof" on the video as he handed Tůmová cash.
Just weeks after the ÚOKFK shelved the bribery investigation of former Environment Minister Pavel Drobil ("Drobil case is dropped, raises ire," News, June 22-28), the Tůmová case again draws into focus how few political corruption cases make it to criminal courts.
"Dropping a case casts a bad light on the capacity of law-enforcement officials to investigate corruption cases," said Kristýna Andrlová, an attorney with the anti-corruption watchdog group Oživení (Revival). "After the dropping of the Drobil case, society is given yet another signal that reporting suspicions of corruption has no consequences."
She added that in the Tůmová case, no results were achieved "even in a case where tangible proof was provided."
While investigation of ÚOKFK detectives showed that the criminal offence of bribery might have taken place, "the case was postponed because of failure to uncover concrete facts to justify the initiation of criminal proceedings against a concrete person," said Jaroslav Ibehej, a Police Presidium spokesman.
In reaction to the corruption allegations last year, Tůmová temporarily withdrew her membership from the Social Democratic party, but the public proliferation of the video did not stop her from accepting another position as a member of the township council after the November 2010 local elections.
Culture of corruption
The idea that politicians should resign their post if they are implicated in corruption has failed to take root in the Czech Republic, Andrlová said.
"I find it odd that they only resign after all the suspicions are proved right, since it is not about criminal, but political responsibility," she added.
While both Tůmová and Lacík confirmed having met in the car and exchanged the money, both insist it was a loan. However, Lacík regularly won public tenders from the Brno-North municipality, which only served to underline the prevailing suspicion.
Radim Bureš of Transparency International said the problem in all corruption investigations continues to be insufficient "cooperation of the police and prosecutors to ensure speedy investigations, to decide who to question, what evidence to examine and, last but not least, [to maintain] a certain amount of bravery to bring charges in cases that are not explicit."
Bureš said charges should have been filed against Tůmová, at the very least to signal that the lending of money between public officials and suppliers is unacceptable.
"The eventual court decision could have then contributed to a clarification of the legal situation in corruption matters," he added.
Andrlová agreed and said examples like this further degrade public confidence in the ÚOKFK and the supreme and municipal public prosecutors' offices.
"The fact that police did not find relevant evidence is bad news for society and good news for those willing to engage in bribery," Andrlová said. "I only hope the officials are aware of it and will do the best they can to change this."
Tůmová denies the bribery allegation and maintains the money was a loan for repairs to her elderly father's apartment. She also claims she has since returned the money.
In a request for comment, Tůmová told The Prague Post that her 90-year-old father broke two vertebrae after a fall and is hospitalized. Therefore, she said, all her thoughts are focused on family, and she is unable to respond.
Tůmová finished her term as deputy mayor in October 2010. The November 2010 elections saw a right-wing coalition comprised of the Civic Democrats (ODS), TOP 09 and Christian Democrats take control of Brno-North.
Sabina Tomíšková (ODS), the current mayor of Brno-North, emphasized that Tůmová no longer works at the town hall.
"This issue is mostly a matter of the personal responsibility of a municipal politician and her behavior. The municipality's operations have not been affected by the case," she said.
Brno City Hall launched an audit of the Brno-North municipality last fall to investigate all the tenders that occurred under Tůmová's watch. The results are expected by the end of August.
Klára Jiřičná can be reached at
Tags: anti-corruption, corruption, politics, czech republic, czech, crime, bribery, uokfk, zuzana tumova, david lacik, bribe video, czech republic, news, unit for combating corruption and financial crime.