Eugen Uvodić, the owner of a tavern in the Prapratno ferry dock near Ston, testified that the suspended head of the Uniformed Police of the FBiH Zoran Čegar paid the owner of the boat rental company Prožura, Darko Marković, three thousand euros for a rubber boat. Uvodić said that he was at that meeting and that he later found out that Marković had delivered a small boat.
Uvodić’s testimony before the Dubrovnik court is different from the statement he gave during the investigation in 2019. He then claimed that he learned about the payment from Čegar and that he did not know the amount involved.
The judge confronted Uvodić with the inconsistencies, asking him for an explanation, which he was mostly unable to deliver.
One of the questions referred to his earlier statement from 2017 about the trade between Čegar and Marković. At that time, Uvodić claimed that Marković had collected a part of the purchase price, while today he could not remember whether the payment was made in part or in full.
This deal failed, and Marković sued Čegar for fraud, claiming that his company was damaged by 20,000 euros. Even though he was summoned as a witness, Marković did not appear in court today.
As per the allegations of the Dubrovnik Public Attorney, in mid-2017, Čegar asked Marković to sell him an E-class Mercedes and a rubber boat, both property of the company. Čegar told him that he would pay him when he sold the land in BiH, although he knew that he was not the owner but only the possessor of the land. He promised to reward Marković if his name did not appear in the contract. He wanted to cover up this trade, claiming that he, as a high-ranking police officer, did not want to be associated with this business transaction.
According to Public Attorney, Marković believed him and, along with a power of attorney, he handed over the vessel and the car that Čegar later sold. Instead of paying 20,000 euros, Čegar asked to buy another vessel for 40,000 euros, offering Marković in return a share of land in BiH, but Marković refused and asked for the money for the boat and car that he already handed over.
Under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Croatia, a fraud that incurred material damage such as the one for which Čegar is charged is punishable by a prison sentence of one to eight years.
Čegar’s defense attorney, Gordana Grubeša, previously told CIN journalists that Marković collected three times the amount he claimed and that she will prove it in court.
In late October, CIN published an investigative story on the illegal ways in which Čegar acquired property. Journalists discovered that in the last 20 years, he traded houses, apartments, and land holdings in BiH and Croatia, and held in his possession many cars, boats, motorcycles, and snowmobiles. He often traded without money, bartering his property for other people’s real estate and vehicles. His partners colloquially call it “trange-frange” affairs, the logrolling.
Today, Čegar owns a luxury villa and multi-story house in Sarajevo, apartments in Bjelašnica and Neum, and huge land holdings with several buildings on the Nišići plateau. Some of his properties are not registered because they were built without building permits. He acquired the property in Nišići near Sarajevo using a fictitious contract and falsified documents.
After the first hearing in October in front of the court in Dubrovnik, CIN journalists asked Čegar to comment on the allegations in the indictment, but he insulted the journalist, and then attacked the journalist, threatening her: “Don’t make me rip your throat out!”
This was not the first time officer Čegar threatened CIN journalists. Twenty days earlier, in a short telephone conversation, he refused to speak, uttering threats and profanities. Alluding to his position, he said that “various people kept him informed” about journalists’ whereabouts and work.”
“I know everything, I’m not running a tobacco shop!”, he said then.
After the CIN story about Čegar’s affairs and threats to CIN journalists, the Sarajevo Canton Prosecutor’s Office began an investigation into the attack on journalists and their revelations about Čegar.
The FBiH Police Administration suspended him, confiscated his weapon and police badge, and banned him to wear his official uniform while under suspension. According to his own words, his 3200 BAM salary was cut to 55%.
However, Zoran Čegar is still the president of the Police Board, which was appointed by the FBiH Government at the end of 2020 for a term of two years.