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Former Minister and Lager Company Director Acquitted of Criminal Charges

Former Minister of Spatial Planning, Construction, and Environmental Protection of the West Herzegovina Canton (ZHK), Ivan Topić, and the director of the company Lager from Posušje, Dubravka Bašić, were on trial for abuse of office and theft.

The proceedings against the director of Lager company from Posušje, Dubravka Bašić, and former Minister of Spatial Planning, Construction, and Environmental Protection of the West Herzegovina Canton (ZHK), Ivan Topić, have concluded with a final ruling at the Canton Court in Široki Brijeg. They have been acquitted of all charges.

The legal proceedings began in November 2016 when the ZHK Prosecutor’s Office accused them of abuse of office and power and theft.

Former Minister Topić was charged with illegally issuing documents that Lager needed for the exploitation of construction stone in the exploitation field of Osoja near Posušje. According to the indictment, Topić issued a Spatial Plan Extract for this area to Lager even though the plan had not been published in the Official Gazette of West Herzegovina Canton, rendering the extract legally invalid. The extract served Lager in preparing an Environmental Impact Study, which was the prerequisite for obtaining permits for stone exploration and exploitation.

Director Bašić was accused of incitement to a criminal offense and illegal stone exploitation carried out by Lager in the Osoja area.

Under the first-instance verdict of the Municipal Court in Široki Brijeg in March 2022 they were acquitted, but all three defendants were convicted by the Cantonal Court in Široki Brijeg after the Prosecutor’s Office appealed: Topić was sentenced to ten months in prison, Bašić to eight months in prison, and Lager was fined by 5,000 BAM.

After appeals against this decision, the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina returned the case for a re-trial to the Cantonal Court in Široki Brijeg, which issued a final acquittal in May 2023.

According to the rationale, the Prosecutor’s Office of ZHK failed to prove the alleged criminal offense against the accused. It is mentioned that evidence indicates the existence of a Spatial Plan of ZHK, and Bašić did not incite Topić to commit a criminal offense.

The Cantonal Court held that the Prosecutor’s Office failed to prove the quantity of excavated stone in the Osoja area or its value, thereby not demonstrating the value of unlawfully acquired property gain, which is a significant element of the criminal offense.

Convictions for Former Minister and Director of “Lager”
Former Minister of Physical Planning of West Herzegovina Canton Ivan Topić and director of the company “Lager” from Posušje, Dubravka Bašić are sentenced to 10 and 8 months in prison respectively for abuse of office or authority, while Lager was ordered to pay a BAM 5,000 fine.

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