Corruption during employment: The address is not important, only the membership card is important

Autor: Direkt Aktuelno Društvo Politika
11 minuta čitanja
Gacko u praline

After the representative of the Socialist Party in the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska, Andrea Dorić, admitted that she got two seats thanks to the party membership card, that is, the coalition’s distribution of the spoils, party recruitment came into the public spotlight again as one of the most common forms of corruption in Republika Srpska, writes Infoveza.

gacko-panorama

Dorić admitted that she got the position of executive director of “Putevi RS” and member of the Board of Directors of the Agency for Intermediary, IT and Financial Services on the basis that she is a member of the Socialist Party. This confession was written and talked about for days, and even the SP president Petar Đokić himself said that it was not true, and then called on Dorić to apologise and return the armchairs. Due to this recognition, two criminal charges were filed – one was filed by the PDP councillor in the Banja Luka City Assembly Milko Grmuša, and the other by Banja Luka lawyer Dario Sandić.

How much party recruitment has really taken off and how deep the arm of that corrupt octopus has sunk is best evidenced by the examples from Herzegovina, more precisely from Gacko. A huge number of “leading authorities” in Gacko live either in Trebinje or Banja Luka, and they got their seats solely thanks to the party booklet.

The President of the Gacko Municipal Assembly Rajko Papović (who was appointed to that position with 140 votes) lives in Banja Luka and Trebinje. He was elected to this position as a cadre of Prva SDS by secret ballot on December 31, 2020. In 2013, Papović was dismissed from the post of acting director of the “Gacko” Mine and Thermal Power Plant. SNSD president Milorad Dodik said then that Papović was dismissed because he was paying BN television with public money.

To make matters even more strange, Papović sued the Municipality of Gacko last year! As the owner of the company “Safir”, he sued Gacko for the unrealized profit from the separation plant. He estimates that he suffered damage of 1.8 million KM. In the meantime, Pogon sold the plant for at least 3.5 million KM to the company “Termograding”, which Milorad Dodik once called a “traditional partner” of RiTE Gacko, explaining why jobs worth tens of millions of KM are given by direct negotiation.

In the 1990s, Papović was a prominent SDS figure in Gacko. In uniform, he took over the chair of the director of the Health Center. He was then Minister of Sports and Youth in Gojko Kličković’s Government. Later, he participated in the founding of Prva SDS, then the Alliance for a Democratic Serbia and finally Prva SDS, with which he won one councillor mandate in the last local elections. As the party of the ruling coalition, Gacko got the post of president of SO Gacko, even though he has been living on the Banja Luka-Trebinje route for years.

Siniša Mandić was elected deputy mayor of Gacko by secret ballot in February last year as a member of the Socialist Party of Srpska. In December 2020, the Government of Republika Srpska dismissed Mandić from his duties as a member of the temporary Supervisory Board of Elektroprivreda Republika Srpska. Zoran Obrenović was also dismissed with him, and Milimir Guzina and Branislav Novaković were appointed in their place for a period of two months. Mandić lives in Trebinje and Novi Dulići.

The complete management of RiTE Gacko has been in an acting mandate for years, but that is not the only problem. General Director of RITE Gacko Miodrag Šešlija lives in Bileća, where he is also a member of the SNSD in the Municipal Council. Šešlija was appointed acting director of RiTE Gacko in April 2018. In the local elections two years ago, he won 1,033 votes in Bileća.

The executive director for organizational and legal affairs in the mines and thermoelectric power plants in Gacko is Marko Grahovac, who also lives in Nevesinje. He came to that position instead of Ognjen Kuljić, who was appointed acting director of Elektro-Herzegovina in August 2021. Grahovac, like Kuljić, is a member of the Socialist Party. In the past few years, he was employed in the Municipality of Nevesinje as a graduate lawyer in charge of veterans’ issues.

The director of the elementary school “Sveti Sava” in Gacko Nikola Milinković, who is also the brother of the mayor of the municipality Ognjen Milinković, lives in Bileća. Our interlocutors say that this is not all and that seats are arranged according to the same principle in the Work Unit of Elektrodistribucija Gacko, the branch office of the PIO Fund, the office of the Health Insurance Fund, Forest Farm “Botin”…

– From these examples, it is more than clear that party recruitment in Herzegovina has reached unsuspected corruption, because it is obvious that only party personnel were appointed when appointing and hiring, even at the cost of hiring and appointing those who do not live in Gacko. The only condition for these appointments and employment was a party membership card because it is hard to believe that in Gacko itself there are not enough good staff who could be appointed as the director of the elementary school or the commander of the police station. The case of RITE Gacko is particularly interesting because the entire management is in an acting mandate – says our source from Gacko, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Journalist Vladimir Kovačević says that in Republika Srpska we had and still have mayors who lived in other municipalities. According to him, the party membership card is the most important piece of property in Republika Srpska and without it, there is no progress. Or, says Kovačević, it is mostly absent.

– Not everyone who is appointed on the basis of a membership card is incompetent. But regardless of ability, they would not be appointed if they were not members of the ruling parties. This is something that has been going on for two decades and will eventually come to a head in Srpska. The results of party recruitment are already visible because we have lost experts in various fields, the parties have ruined education, healthcare… So nothing is surprising anymore. Normal people who find all this abnormal are clearly a minority in this society. As we sow, we will reap the fruits in ten years. Although we are already harvesting them – pointed out Kovačević.

Member of the Committee for Political System, Judiciary and Administration of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska Ljubiša Krunić says that in Srpska the party membership card is everything. He points out that the same is the case in all of Herzegovina and adds that such an example of employment can best be seen in Gacko.

– Those from Gacko have always been smart and “all-knowing”. In the former Yugoslavia, they had the largest number of intellectuals in relation to the number of inhabitants. Gacko has enough capable, smart, and hardworking people. And it is clear that they can only get to work if they have a membership card of the SNSD, either socialists, or United Srpska. If they don’t, then those who are members have priority, regardless of where they live – Krunić pointed out.

This, he added, is the abuse of state resources that is most obvious in Herzegovina. It is here, in Herzegovina, that many resources are located.

– Nevertheless, less than 75,000 inhabitants live in the 13 municipalities of Electoral Unit 9. And Herzegovina provides Srpska 74 per cent of electricity. That tells you everything. Contracts for work or temporary and occasional jobs are handed out and then we end up in this situation – said Krunić.

Political analyst Tanja Topić says that the model according to which a party membership card has become a prerequisite for any type of employment, especially in the public sector, has finally fully come to life in Srpska.

– Belonging to the party is everything. Anyone who is not a member of the parties in power has no chance. Because of this, absurd situations can happen when they are hired only on the basis of party affiliation. Then neither knowledge nor address is important. Unfortunately, this is a rule that has become a standard – said Topić.

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