Deputy of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and member of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, Dragan Bogdanić, has been working in the Health and Tourism Center “Banja Vrućica” in Teslić for many years.
Since 2003, he worked there as an assistant director for health, and was a member and subsequently the president of the Board of Directors. He held the position of General Director from 2010 to 2013, when he was appointed Minister of Health and Social Protection in the Government of the Republika Srpska (RS). According to “Banja Vrućica” records, Bogdanić today works there as a cardiologist.
According to his biography posted on the “Banja Vrućica” website, he graduated from Medical School in 1996, specialized in internal medicine in Banja Luka in 2003, and completed a cardiology subspecialization in Belgrade in 2006.
However, the University of Belgrade confirmed to the CIN journalists that he received the diploma and earned the cardiology specialist title in 2009.
In early November, CIN published the story about Bogdanić not declaring the house in the Belgrade settlement Borča and his wife’s garage in Teslić. Although he ignored calls and messages from journalists at the time, he wrote to them after the story was published claiming that the house was not his, and threatening them with a lawsuit.
When asked about his diploma, in correspondence with journalists, he answered: “Obviously the person who posted the data on the website (author’s note: “Banja Vrućica”) was not looking carefully at the documents”.
Bogdanić sent a copy of the diploma and certificate of the Medical School from the e-mail address of the director of “Banja Vrućica”, confirming the error in the biography. He also submitted the certificate he requested from the Medical School in 2006, “ in order to regulate the rights from the employment”. In this document, the Medical School explained that having passed the oral exam, he had acquired the right to submit his final paper to the Postgraduate Teaching Council for evaluation.
Although the journalists insisted on an in-person interview, Bogdanić persistently declined.
“I do not trust that you will convey everything as I say it, therefore I request that the questions be clear and my answers will be clear (…) P.S.: I didn’t say that I won’t answer, no way,” wrote Bogdanić.
ILLUSTRATION: Dragan Bogdanić’s biography on the “Banja Vrućica” portal and diploma from the Medical School in Belgrade (Illustration: CIN)
This is not the first time that CIN journalists discovered incorrect information in the biographies of officials. The official biography of the president of the Socialist Party and the Minister of Energy and Mining of the RS, Petar Đokić, says that he graduated from the School of Economics in Belgrade in 1991. He confirmed this to CIN, but the School of Economics of Belgrade University claims Đokić was never their student. Đokić earned his diploma at the Megatrend International Expert Consortium Limited Business School in Belgrade.
BiH ambassador to Qatar and former mayor of Sarajevo, Abdulah Skaka from the Democratic Action Party, wrote in his official biography that he graduated from the School of Economics in Sarajevo, while he actually graduated from the Management and Business Economics School of the Travnik University.
House on son’s land
According to the contract, in 2007, Bogdanić bought the right to permanently use the land of 257 square meters in Borča for about 3,000 BAM (125,000 dinars).
On this plot of land, a house was built, which is today occupied by Bogdanić’s relatives. His relative, who lives there, confirmed this to journalists. She said that it was his house, while her neighbor remembered that the house was built by Bogdanić’s father, Novak.
After the story about the undeclared property was published, Bogdanić delivered to the journalists: the 1999 decision on determining the house number, issued at the request of his father Novak, which explains how the owner should mark the building; the building specification list, indicating his father as an investor, and the water bill from 2022, indicating his father as the head of the household. Bogdanić also submitted to CIN a copy of part of the documentation his wife Jelena submitted in the house legalization process, which is still pending.
Illegal construction in this Belgrade suburbia was not at all uncommon. In the late 1990s, people were buying land cheaply and building houses without construction permits.
Official land documents show that Bogdanić is still registered as the holder of the right to use land in Borča, while Novak’s name is not mentioned anywhere in the land registers.
In correspondence with journalists, Bogdanić explained that his father worked in Germany for years and that he built a house in Belgrade in 1998, as well as that he owns an apartment in that country and two more houses in Teslić, while putting through school four children at the same time.
In 2019 and 2020, journalists asked Bogdanić several times about the property in Borča. Although confronted with documents containing his data, he claimed: “I’m certain I have nothing in Serbia [titled] to my name.” He persisted in this during his last correspondence with journalists, refusing to discuss it in person.
Bogdanić omitted to declare the property in the asset declaration forms in 2014 and again in 2018. According to the Election Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina, elected officials are obliged to declare all their property and that of immediate family members the value of which is greater than BAM 5,000.
Bogdanić’s political career began in 2012 when he was elected an alderman in the Teslić Municipality Assembly. A year later, he was appointed Minister of Health and Social Protection of the RS, and then he ceased to be the general manager of Banja Vrućica. He was a minister until 2018, and after the end of his term, he returned to the position of general director of ZTC Banja Vrućica, where he remained until the end of 2020.
After he was dismissed, his wife Jelena was appointed general director. At the same time, he professionalized his status in the BiH Parliament and from January 2021 he was on full salary, which at the time was BAM 4,549. In addition to the salary, he also receives a flat rate for sessions in the Parliament, as well as meal, transportation, and living-away-from-home allowances. “Banja Vrućica” ignored a journalist’s inquiry about Bogdanić’s income.
In the last elections, he did not win enough votes for a direct seat in the state Parliament.