Defence Minister’s Former Company Gets Lucrative Public Sector Job

By 15 February 2018

A possible conflict of interest?

King ICT, a company in which Defence Minister Damir Krstičević used to work before becoming the minister, has recently won a tender published by JANAF, the majority state-owned pipeline company, to construct oil storage facilities at the Omišalj oil terminal on the island of Krk. The job is worth some 240 million kuna, reports N1 on February 15, 2018.

Janaf’s CEO Dragan Kovačević explained today that there was nothing wrong with the decision. “He does not own the company. He was a manager or a director there, and they were selected just because they are the best. You should go to Omišalj yourself. That is the largest construction site, with about 400 people working there. The tender has been won by a consortium of companies, and not only by King ICT. KFK is a company which has a lot of money, and they have hired all these other companies. The Đuro Đaković company’s bid was 30 million more expensive, and they were unable to do it. They used to do some assignments for us, but they could not finish them. The tender is completely transparent; it was done through a public competition. The consortium offered a bid which was 30 million kuna less expensive than the other,” said Kovačević.

“The consortium also includes Montmontaža and a host of construction companies. I would have begged them to work there. If Krstičević has left a trace in his former company, he did it well. The company is doing fine, they have the money, they can get bank guarantees, and they pay vendors on time. I would like to give Đuro Đaković all the assignments, but unfortunately, the situation is such. I cannot give them a job if they are 30 million more expensive.”

“There were five or six companies in the consortium. We have not disclosed this information before, but I came here today to explain it. This issue is only being discussed due to Defence Minister Krstičević, and not due to the lack of transparency,” said Kovačević, who was asked whether Minister Krstičević could return to the company after his term ends and whether there was a conflict of interest.

“Others should investigate that. But, everything is absolutely clear. We are a joint stock company, and I am protecting the smallest shareholders. I manage this company as if it were a private business, and pension funds are among our owners. I understand that the media is posing questions about what Krstičević is doing. I would like you to come to the construction site. That is a beautiful sight, with 400 people, of which 120 are from abroad. Our goal is to bring back our welders from Germany. We have 50 or 60 workers from Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina because we do not have our own people to do the job,” concluded Kovačević his defence of the controversy.

Translated from N1.