Final Word from Monday, July 9, 2007

The image of the police was dealt another blow when five Prague traffic cops were fired for taking bribes in exchange for giving tips about accidents to a motorist-assistance company. Interior Minister Ivan Langer jumped on the occasion to show that progress is being made in wiping out corruption, but he resolutely refused to name the company doing the bribing. He said something about not wanting to interfere with the continued investigation. It's a strange situation. Enough evidence was gathered in the 10-month sting to fire the police officers and to file charges against the civilian handing out the bribes, but not to name the company that profited the most from the crime. Langer didn't explain how frying just the small fish helps eradicate systemic corruption. He risks raising the suspicion that minor changes were merely being made so everything else could stay the same.[Czech Republic department bribery]


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