Charges Brought Against Vote-traders

Brčko District Prosecutor’s Office brought charges against vote-traders exposed by CIN journalists on the eve of the 2020 Local Elections.
Evidence found by the Brčko District Police during the search of Pengić and Saletović’s apartments (Photo: Brčko District Police)

Brčko District Prosecutor’s Office charged Sanel Pengić and Elvir Saletović with plotting, arranging, organizing, and associating at least five persons for election vote trading.  

Saletović and Pengić were arrested on November 13, 2019, in the police operation “Voter”, two days before the election, after being exposed by CIN journalists. 

Posing as party activists, the journalists arranged a meeting between the two of them and Abdulah Iljazović, a candidate for the local elections on behalf of the Narod i Pravda party. After short texting, they met in a Brčko gas station café. The plan implied that Iljazović should pay BAM 6,500 in return for 130 votes, and Saletović and Pengić should find the voters whom they would pay BAM 50 each while keeping the rest of the money to themselves.

Iljazović came to the arranged meeting in the company of a CIN journalist, whom he presented as his associate.  In this meeting, they agreed on the handover of BAM 1,300 in 10 BAM banknotes. In this way, each voter would receive one 10 BAM banknote, which they would photograph next to the filled ballot on the election day as evidence.

Vote selling network exposed by CIN reporters
CIN reporters revealed a vote seller's network in the Brčko District. Exposure of the election fraud led to the arrest of vote-selling organizers.

A few days later, the money was handed over to them, and they agreed on another meeting, where they would receive the rest. On the handover day of the remainder of the money, Pengić and Saletović were arrested and remanded in custody.

According to the indictment, Pengić, Saletović and their aides violated the freedom of choice of voters and committed a criminal offense punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to three years.

 „In this whole operation, the work of the journalists has materially contributed to the success of the operation”, said Zekerija Mujkanović, the Chief Prosecutor of BD PO. Mujkanović adds that in this way, they want to send a message that those involved in such frauds will be severely sanctioned.