After Direkt's article about councillor Aleksandar Bodiroga, criminal charges from all sides

Autor: Nikolija Bjelica Škrivan Aktuelno Društvo Politika
7 minuta čitanja
Opozicija podnosi krivične prijave protiv uprave ERS-a i odbornika Aleksandra Bodiroge (Foto: Direkt)

Representatives of part of the opposition in Trebinje have prepared criminal charges against the management of Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (ERS) – Luka Petrović, Ivan Koprivica, Borislav Grubač, Jovica Vlatković, and Zoran Vuković, as well as SNSD councillor Aleksandar Bodiroga, who is linked to the company “Xplode media”. Due to the job that ERS entrusted to this agency, the opposition will submit criminal charges to the District Public Prosecutor's Office in the morning for alleged abuses of position and authority, negligent work, and organized crime.

Opozicija podnosi krivične prijave protiv uprave ERS-a i odbornika Aleksandra Bodiroge
The opposition is filing criminal charges against the ERS management and councillor Aleksandar Bodiroga (Photo: Direkt)

It all began when the Direkt portal first reported the story of how a company with modest credentials, linked to councillor Bodiroga, was awarded a contract by ERS to work on the image of this public company. It was a tender for advertising services for ERS at sports, cultural, humanitarian, and other events, worth around 920,000 BAM with VAT.

Recall that Direkt revealed that the sole and best bidder is a company officially registered to the brother of councillor Aleksandar Bodiroga, at the address of the house where Bodiroga's relative, and the president of the SNSD youth in Trebinje, Srđan Kovač, lives.

The president of the SDS in Trebinje, Milica Radovanović, says that the tender documentation for this procedure unequivocally shows that the entire amount of money goes to the “Xplode media” company.

“So, there is not a single written trace that this money will be distributed to any other organization”, claims Radovanović, adding that it is problematic that ERS has concluded a contract with a company with very modest business results.

The same opinion is shared by Member of Parliament Nebojša Vukanović, who points out that it is questionable that ERS engaged an intermediary for the distribution of money instead of doing it directly.

“The Law on Public Enterprises clearly states that public enterprises, such as ERS, have the opportunity to distribute profits for, among other things, donations, up to 10 per cent from net profit… This is an unscrupulous embezzlement of public funds, once again”, believes Vukanović, adding that he already knows the outcome of the criminal report because he does not trust the judiciary in Trebinje.

The opposition believes that this procurement violates the Law on Public Procurements of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Law on Public Donations of Republika Srpska.

ERS: Everything was done in accordance with the law

Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (ERS) clarifies to Direkt that everything was done in accordance with the law and that the opposition, commenting on this procurement, absolutely does not understand the legal procedures.

The spokesperson for ERS, Ana Bokonjić Buha, stated in a statement to our portal that through the job awarded to the “Xplode media” agency, support was provided to over 100 sports collectives, cultural institutions, and humanitarian organizations.

“ERS announced this specific public procurement in accordance with the Law on Public Procurement, using the most transparent – open procedure. ERS remains committed to supporting sports, culture, and humanitarian work… The job is completed, the money is distributed, and the story that Xplode media received all that money is not founded”, says Bokonjić Buha.

She adds that in the entire public procurement process, there were no complaints, and she assures that ERS could not choose who would apply for the tender, who would meet the requirements, and get this job.

Similar statements were made by the general director of ERS, Luka Petrović, in an interview with Herceg Television.

He stated that it is logical for the agency mediating in this distribution of money to earn one to three per cent of the money for its expenses.

He also announced criminal charges aimed at providing fair information about the work of ERS.

Aleksandar Bodiroga, Xplode media

Chronology of Events

After Direkt published the article, several other media outlets addressed this issue, and opposition politicians also got involved. When opposition members presented their observations to BN Television, ERS and “Xplode media” sent additional explanations in the form of denials to this television.

But that wasn't the end. Since the Bodiroga brothers are the sons of a fallen soldier, the local veterans’ organization issued a statement condemning the opposition's attitude towards the Bodirogas. They accused the opposition of not wanting the best for the veteran categories, “taking bread out of their hands”, and exploiting the brothers for daily political purposes.

Following this, the opposition “entered” or, as they say, entered the premises of the Veterans’ Organization to confront its leadership verbally and seek answers about who is exploiting the veterans and putting targets on their foreheads.

Additionally, the local Herceg Television, closely associated with the authorities in Trebinje and funded with public money, participated in the orchestrated defence. They created media content in which they interviewed representatives of sports, cultural, and humanitarian associations, organizations, and clubs, expressing gratitude to ERS and Luka Petrović for forwarding part of public funds through this procurement.

On the other hand, the opposition claims that Petrović is exploiting the Bodirogas and also exploiting and humiliating the veterans’ organization, sports, cultural, and humanitarian

organizations. According to them, these organizations were forced to speak for Herceg Television and praise Luka Petrović and ERS in their statements.

The outcome of the entire story, which criminal charges are justified and which are not, will be determined by the District Public Prosecutor's Office in Trebinje.

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