Final Word from Friday, August 22, 2003

A reader said he nearly spilled his coffee when he read that Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has "grown" with his job. It's important to separate the image from the reality, he said. Other readers cited specific examples of Sobotka's failings as finance minister: His mishandling of company sell-offs, including Vítko-vice and Korado; his support for selling the coal mines to insiders; his receptivity to the pleas of lobbyists, such as Becker & Poliakoff and Pokorný & Wagner; his reversal on asking for more transparency at Sazka lottery company; and his inability, or unwillingness, to clean up ČKA. These comments came from people directly involved in deals. Nevertheless, Sobotka's image as the guardian of the state coffers has indeed improved, and he'll likely be a thorn in the side of these frustrated readers for much longer than the average finance minister. ministry


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