The Municipal Court in Sarajevo today handed down a first-instance verdict sentencing the former Secretary General of the Democratic Action Party (SDA) Amir Zukić to three years in prison.
Under the same verdict, Safet Bibić was sentenced to six years in prison, Senad Trako to 18 months, Ramiz Karavdić to two years, and Esed Džananović to three years in prison, while Asim Sarajlić and Nedžad Trako were acquitted.
“The backbone of the indictment is recruitment for the money”, said Sarajevo Municipal Court judge Tanja Curović during the reading of the verdict.
According to her, more than 100 witnesses were heard during the proceedings, expert reports were conducted and around 300 pieces of material evidence were presented.
The indictment was filed by the Sarajevo Canton Prosecutor’s Office in 2017 due to unlawful recruitment in public companies, where individuals were paying up to BAM 19,000 to get a job.
All this was happening during 2016. Zukić used his political influence and Bibić his connections as the chief technician at the Clinical Center of the University of Sarajevo (KCUS) and a member of the board of directors of several public companies and institutions for unlawful placement services. Individuals were paying for jobs in Elektroprivreda Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) through the executive director for distribution Esed Džananović. Senad Trako, president of the municipal organization of the political party BPS-Sefer Halilović and Ramiz Karavdić, a retired postman, helped in contacting and finding people willing to pay for a job.
After the verdict, Zukić did not want to talk to reporters. His lawyer Ahmed Žilić said that he would appeal the verdict as he “believed that the court succumbed to political pressure”.
Asim Sarajlić was acquitted of influence peddling in the job placements to Elektroprivreda BiH. His lawyer Fahrudin Ibrišimović also said that his client deserves an apology: “We have heard so many incoherent and rude comments about Asim Sarajlić in these five years. He has become a synonym for corruption”.
The lawyer also announced the possibility of a lawsuit for damages, if the acquittal was upheld in the second-instance proceedings. “He is politically discredited,” Ibrišimović said of Sarajlić, who today works as a delegate in the House of Peoples of the state Parliament.
Zukić’s driver Seid Fazlagić was also accused in this case. Shortly after the indictment was filed, he entered a plea agreement with the Sarajevo Canton Prosecutor’s Office and was sentenced to eight months in prison.
Among the accused was also Mirsad Kukić, a member of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly, who was accused of receiving a reward or other form of benefit for influence peddling, but he asked that his case be separated due to health reasons. In 2020, the Municipal Court in Sarajevo sentenced him to one year in prison, but after an appeal, the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo overturned that verdict in April of this year and sent the case back for a retrial.