Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Health Minister Beroš: "Problems Aren't Solved By Minister Stepping Down"

ZAGREB, 21 April, 2021 - Health Minister Vili Beroš on Wednesday commented on an opposition motion for his resignation, saying he is not interested in keeping his ministerial position at any cost and that current problems in healthcare will not be solved with his departure but require a broad political consensus of all.

"It is the opposition's political position to question and criticise. I have never had any problems with constructive criticism, in fact, I consider it motivating. However, I have a problem with unfounded accusations and insinuations that have conveniently intensified ahead of the local election," Beroš said in a Facebook post.

The opposition, he added, has unusually focused on the health sector and him personally, who have been fighting against the COVID-19 epidemic for more than a year now.

"I cannot accept that because for more than a year now we have been intensively combatting the COVID-19 epidemic which cannot be compared to any other previous challenge. I am not looking for an excuse, I am just describing the current situation during which activities are simultaneously  being conducted towards restructuring the system to make it sustainable in the long run. The opposition's manoeuvres take us away from that aim and I wonder just how ready it is to support real changes in the healthcare system so that it can be better for all Croatian citizens," said Beroš.

He noted that the opposition had an opportunity to resolve the existing problems but that did not happen. "In fact, with its inactivity it contributed to deepening the existing problems. I'm not interested in keeping my minister's 'seat' at any cost, however, I do not have the habit of leaving an unfinished job. The problems in healthcare cannot be resolved with the health minister's resignation but through a national consensus of all political options," concluded Beroš.

Opposition parties in parliament on Wednesday unanimously agreed that Beroš has to go and they expressed readiness to support the Social Democratic Party's (SDP) motion for a vote of no confidence in the minister. The opposition said that the motion will be launched soon but that it will allow Beroš some time to think about everything that has happened in healthcare and give him an opportunity to step down.

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Friday, 16 April 2021

MOST Party: Corruption Scandals Under Guise of Fight Against COVID

OSTZAGREB, 16 April, 2021 - Member of Parliament Zvonimir Troskot of the MOST party on Friday said that huge corruption risks and scandals are hiding under the guise of fight against COVID-19, warning of a new scandal regarding the Cijepise (Get vaccinated) application.

Yet another scandal is about to break regarding the Cijepise application whose design was awarded in a non-transparent way to a good friend of Health Minister Vili Beroš's, with details of the deal having been hidden for months, Troskot told a press conference in Parliament House.

"Huge corruption risks and scandals are being hidden under the guise of fighting against COVID," he said, recalling that MOST had requested that the procurement procedure for medical equipment should not be confidential.

There is an evident model where procurement is being segmented so it does not exceed the threshold of HRK 200,000 in order to avoid a public procurement procedure, said Troskot.

The Cijepise application is very important and should be helping citizens to get vaccinated yet instead people are being inoculated out of line, he said.

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Wednesday, 7 April 2021

PM Andrej Plenković Says Who Plans to be Supreme Court President Must Respect Law

ZAGREB, 7 April, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that someone who planned to be president of the Supreme Court was expected to respect the law, which "is the prerequisite of every reform."

He was responding during Question Time to MP Arsen Bauk of the opposition Social Democratic Party, who said Plenković was preventing changes in the judiciary, that Croatia was the least vaccinated EU member state, that COVID-19 measures were being applied selectively and that there was no reconstruction after last year's earthquakes.

Plenković accused the SDP "and the whole left" of trying to create an "awful" atmosphere as if tomorrow there would be no wages, electricity or gas.

He said Croatia ordered 8.7 million vaccine doses and that people would be vaccinated, but that the government could not be responsible if a big drugs company had problems with its vaccine, production and distribution. "Other countries are in this situation too."

Bauk said Plenković did not refute any of his claims and that citizens believed the president more in his row with the prime minister over the election of the new Supreme Court president.

Bauk concurred with other opposition MPs' criticisms of the ruling HDZ's policies and their rejection of the possibility that Plenković's party could transform itself.

He said the HDZ's "core won't change, it's always more or less the same" and that "the HDZ has always functioned on doctrines of (...) sustainable nationalism and clientelism."

SDP MP says minister tried to bribe her

SDP MP Mirela Ahmetović said that "one of your ministers (...) personally offered me a bribe to keep quiet about all the illegal and negative things" about the LNG project off Krk island, and that as a result of the project the gas price for households went up 80% on 1 April.

Plenković accused her of having boycotted the project "dreamed of for 40 years", saying it would reduce the price of gas and that this benefitted Ahmetović as head of Omišalj Municipality.

He also dismissed claims by Marijana Puljak (Centre) that he was protecting Vice Mihanović, the HDZ's candidate for mayor of Split who is under suspicion of having plagiarised a scientific paper.

He said Mihanović had a doctorate and that it was up to the relevant commissions to decide on his doctoral dissertation, adding that Ivica Puljak, Marijana Puljak's husband, would certainly lose to Mihanović in the Split mayoral race.

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Friday, 26 March 2021

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković Expects Authorities to Look Into Mamić's Accusations

ZAGREB, 26 March (Hina) - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Friday he expected all the accusations levelled by convicted former Dinamo football club boss Zdravko Mamić against Supreme Court President Đuro Sessa and other judges to be investigated by the competent authorities.

"As for the accusations, I have no knowledge of them, but I expect the competent authorities to get to the bottom of them," Jandroković told a press conference after a meeting of the Parliament Presidency.

If the allegations of violation of the law, preferential treatment and bribery are proved, the people in question should be punished, he added.

Jandroković admitted that he was concerned that some of the judges confirmed what Mamić said. "That raises concerns and citizens must certainly be concerned about that segment of the judiciary."

Speaking of the possibility of Sisak-Moslavina County prefect Ivo Žinić running in the forthcoming local elections, Jandroković said that the HDZ's candidate there was Ivan Celjak. "When an HDZ member goes against the HDZ, he can no longer be an HDZ member," he said.

The Croatian Parliament wrapped up its session on Friday. MPs will be on a recess until 7 April when they return to the parliamentary benches. Parliament will then be sitting until 15 July, with a break between 7 and 19 May for local elections.

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Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Justice Minister Ivan Malenica: "Sorting Out Situation in Judiciary is in Everybody's Interest"

ZAGREB, 24 March, 2021 - Justice Minister Ivan Malenica said on Wednesday that it was in everybody's interest to have the situation in the judicial system sorted out as soon as possible.

Also, if the accusations made by convicted former Dinamo football club boss Zdravko Mamić against some judges prove to be well-founded, necessary proceedings should be expedited, Malenica told the RTL broadcaster on Wednesday evening.

Considering this case, Malenica said that the depositions of the judges concerned had been submitted and would be forwarded to the relevant bodies, including the DORH and USKOK prosecutorial authorities.

Furthermore, the State Judicial Council is expected to decide on disciplinary measures against the judges from Osijek County Court next week, he added.

Considering Zdravko Mamić's accusations against the Supreme Court President Đuro Sessa, Malenica said that Sessa had stated that his last contact with Mamić was some 15 years ago.

He added that there were currently no indications hinting at the possibility of launching proceedings against Sessa.

Malenica announced that an inspection would be conducted at Osijek County Court following the latest developments.

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Wednesday, 24 March 2021

MOST Starts Collecting MPs' Signatures to Dismiss Supreme Court President

ZAGREB, 24 March, 2021 - The opposition Bridge party has announced that on Thursday it starts collecting MPs' signatures to initiate the procedure for the dismissal of Supreme Court President Đuro Sessa after he was mentioned as being one of the judges allegedly bribed by convicted football mogul Zdravko Mamić.

Bridge said that the "recent events seriously undermined the reputation of and trust in the Croatian judiciary, both the reputation of individual judges and of the judiciary as a whole," and that therefore it was essential to launch the proceedings to relieve Đuro Sessa of his duties as Supreme Court President.

The party recalled that Sessa had been appointed Supreme Court President on 14 July 2017 with 84 votes in favour and 33 against and that under the Courts Act he is responsible for the work of the Supreme Court which ensures the unified application of the law and that everyone is equal before the law.

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Saturday, 20 March 2021

Money, Property, Cars - State to Take Mamic Brothers Assets

March the 20th, 2021 - The Mamic brothers have finally faced justice at the hands of the Supreme Court, and now their cars, money and property are set to fall into the hands of the Croatian state.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, by the final verdict of the Supreme Court, the infamous Mamic brothers (Zdravko and Zoran) and members of their family, as well as former tax collector Milan Pernar, will be left without a part of their property/assets that will now belong to the state.

Pernar is thus left without 2.97 million kuna as the Land Registry Department of the Municipal Civil Court in Zagreb was ordered to delete Pernar's wife as the owner of a house of 104 square metres and a 239 square metre yard in Zagreb, with a total value of 1,715,000 kuna. The property is now to become the property of the state, and Pernar's wife Tajana, as the owner, must release it within fifteen days of the judgment becoming final, Slobodna Dalmacija reports.

The Pernars are also left without a thirteen-year-old VW EOS 2 TDI, which is worth a little less than 85,000 kuna, and the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) must register the ownership of the state in the register of registered vehicles. Pernar has to hand over the car within fifteen days and must also pay a little over 296 thousand kuna into the state budget, which is the difference between the confiscated assets and the illegal property gain according to the Supreme Court ruling.

When it comes to the Mamic brothers, fugitive former Dinamo boss Zdravko Mamic is being left without a good part of his real estate and his cars. As are members of his family. It has been legally established that the eldest of the Mamic brothers (Zdravko), gained a profit of 52 million kuna and 37 thousand kuna by a criminal offense, and this will now become state-owned money.

105,000 kuna is being deducted from his account in Hypo-Alpe-Adria Bank, while almost 31,000 euros is being deducted from his daughter Iva's account in the same bank, along with another 78,500 kuna from Iva's account with Erste bank. Over 6000 euros will also be taken from the Erste bank account owned by Zdravko's older daughter Lucija. All banks in which the Mamic family had accounts were ordered by the verdict to transfer the said payments to the state budget within fifteen days.

Zdravko Mamic's wife Marina will also be deprived of the money found in the search of their family house, in the amount of 21,270 euros and 17 thousand kuna. Mamic was also left without the seven million kuna he had in his deposit account at Postanska banka, which the bank transferred to the state budget account back in 2015.

The former Dinamo boss will also be left without an apartment in Preradoviceva street in the very heart of central Zagreb in the Cvjetni residential and business building. It is an apartment which boasts eight rooms and a terrace of 164 square metres with two garage spaces, with a total value of 6.97 million kuna, formally owned by Marina Mamic.

The Supreme Court ordered the land registry departments of the courts in whose territory the property is located to delete the previous owners and transfer them to the state, and Marina Mamic and Vanja Horvat must also hand over the real estate to the state within two weeks.

That isn't all that the state took away from Mamic. There is also a very pricey 12-metre-long boat, Bentley Continental 6.0 GTC cars from 2007 owned by Marina Mamic, and an Audi 2.0 TDI Sport car owned by Vanja Horvat that will also be transferred into the state's hands. The Port Authority of Sibenik and the Ministry of the Interior should transfer all this to the state, and Mamic must pay the difference between the value of what was taken from him and what he illegally earned to the state within a period of two weeks. That amounts to approximately another 25 million and 540 thousand kuna.

Zoran Mamic, on the other hand, will be left without the 2.69 million kuna that Dinamo should have paid him, which the state blocked from happening back in 2015, and that will also become state budget money. Furthermore, a little less than 48 thousand kuna that Ana Mamic, one of Zoran's ex-wives, had in an Erste bank account will be confiscated.

Due to the crimes of her former life partner, Ana will also be left without a 10-year-old Land Rover Evoque worth 210,000 kuna. Now, the former Dinamo coach has to pay the state within just fifteen days the massive 25 million and 894 thousand kuna difference between the value of the confiscated assets and his illegally obtained property benefits.

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Friday, 23 October 2020

SDP MP Grgic, Suspect in JANAF Corruption Case, Resigns as Mayor

ZAGREB, October 23, 2020 - Social Democratic Party MP Vinko Grgic, who is in custody for involvement in the JANAF corruption case, resigned as Nova Gradiska mayor and is no longer in that office as of today, his deputy Borislav Vidosic said on Friday, Nova Gradiska radio reported.

Grgic has been in custody since September 18 due to his involvement in a case in which the chairman of the board of oil pipeline operator JANAF, Dragan Kovacevic, is under investigation for taking a HRK 1.96 million bribe in exchange for contracts in which JANAF is investing.

Vidosic will serve as mayor until local elections next May.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

EC Report: 91 Percent of Croatian Companies Consider Corruption Rife

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes on the 2nd of October, 2020, in the first annual EC report on the functioning of the rule of law for the Republic of Croatia, the fact that 91 percent of Croatian companies consider corruption to be widespread (the EU average otherwise stands at a significantly lower 63 percent), and that for 57 percent of Croatian companies it poses a problem in business (with the EU average being a far lower 37 percent), is greatly concerning.

Although the Croatian judiciary has made progress in reducing the enormous backlog of cases, there are still many problems with efficiency, independence and quality, while the matter is even more complex with regard to the corruption perception index, which is always a very hot topic indeed in Croatia.

According to Transparency International for the year 2019, the Republic of Croatia ranks 18th in the European Union and 63rd in the entire world, but it unfortunately ranks as the worst in the 2020 Eurobarometer survey in terms of citizens' perceptions of corruption: as many as 97 percent believe it is widespread (the EU average is otherwise 71 percent) and 54 percent of them feel personally affected by it in their everyday lives (whereas the EU average stands at a lower 26 percent). The report also points out that in September 2020, the Minister of Justice and Administration announced a new anti-corruption strategy.

The EC report, which is the latest strategic document, accompanied by three two-year action plans and largely implemented, is lacking due to the postponement of some initiatives to strengthen ethics and integrity among top executives and members of parliament and to regulate lobbying. Corruption at the local level remains a cause for concern, due to, they say, structural weaknesses and the management of local state-owned enterprises.

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Friday, 18 September 2020

Three Croatian MPs Stripped of Immunity from Criminal Prosecution

ZAGREB, September 18, 2020 - The Croatian parliament on Friday lifted the immunity of three MPs to face corruption charges.

It was an unprecedented decision in parliament's recent history because never before had three lawmakers been stripped of immunity from criminal prosecution in a single day.

The MPs in question are Drazen Barisic (HDZ), the mayor of Velika Gorica, Darko Puljasic (HDZ), the mayor of Pozega, and Vinko Grgic (SDP), the mayor of Nova Gradiska.

The decision was carried by 121 votes in favour and one abstention in the case of Barisic and by 123 votes in favour and two abstentions in the cases of Puljasic and Grgic.

Barisic and Grgic are suspected in a corruption case involving the state-run JANAF oil pipeline operator and the Elektrocentar Petek company from Ivanic Grad. A total of 13 persons are suspected of financial wrongdoing in this case.

Barisic is suspected of influence peddling and misuse of position and authority, while Grgic is suspected of bribe taking.

Puljasic is connected with another case - the extension of a primary school in Pozega. It has been found that the city administration received funding for this project from the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds although no work was done. It is suspected that this was done on the basis of an agreement that was falsified by Puljasic.

On Thursday, Barisic suspended his term in parliament and was replaced by Mato Cicak, the mayor of Rugvica. Cicak was sworn in on Friday.


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