The Croatian Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK) filed an indictment against nine persons for influence peddling, bribery, and abuse of position and power during the construction and commissioning of the Krš-Pađene Wind Power Plant in the area of the city of Knin.
Among the accused are Milenko Bašić and Dragan Stipić, the owner and one of the executive managers of the company Lager from Posušje, which is the founder of the company CEMP in Croatia, an investor in the construction of wind power plants.
Bašić and Stipić are accused of bribing Josipa Rimac, who was at that time State Secretary in the Ministry of Administration of Croatia, and previously have hold a position of a longtime Mayor of Knin, and an MP, from early 2017 to the middle of 2020. According to USKOK, they have been giving her a monthly amount of at least HRK 40,000 (about BAM 10,000) a month, i.e., they gave her a total of HRK 1.1 million (about BAM 300,000). In turn, she used her political influence to obtain permits, decisions, and contracts necessary for the construction, commissioning, production, and sale of electricity for their company in various state institutions.
The investigation into this case was launched in May 2020, after which the indictment was filed to the County Court in Zagreb. During the investigation, Bašić and Stipić each spent a month in custody in the spring of 2021.
According to information confirmed to CIN by the spokesperson of this court, the indictment was filed at the end of last year but has not yet been served on the defendants. It is a large-scale case that is currently being prepared for the chair of the Criminal Chamber, hence the Court cannot yet provide more precise information about the possible commencement of the trial.
The accused Stipić told the CIN journalist that he could not comment on the news, since he is not yet aware of the details of the indictment, which has not yet been served on him.
The company Lager from Posušje started trading in work machinery, and over time they expanded their business to the energy sector. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, they have had a concession for the construction of a wind power plant in the area of Tomislavgrad since 2008, but the works have not yet started. In addition, they have a concession for quarrying in two areas in Posušje, and mining in the area of Kamengrad in Sanski Most.
According to CIN’s investigation published in the spring of 2021, in contracting and awarding concession contracts in BiH, Lager enjoyed certain perks and privileges, hence it has been awarded some contracts even though it did not meet all the conditions nor did it honor previous obligations. The Minister of Economy of the Una San Canton (USK), Vid Šantić admitted that the Ministry has changed the method of calculating concession fees because of Lager so that this company would pay less to the budget than it would have had to according to the earlier calculation. In the West Herzegovina Canton (ZHK) they were granted a deferral of the payment of concession fees.