President and Member of the Independent Board in a Conflict of Interest

Žiko Krunić should not have served as both the president of the Independent Police Oversight Board and the director of Ugljevik Mine and Power Plant as announced by the Commission on Conflict of Interest.

The state-level Commission on Conflict of Interest has sanctioned Žiko Krunić and Miroslav Škorić, respectively the president and a member of the Independent Board of the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) Parliamentary Assembly, for violating the state Law on Conflict of Interest. During their tenure on the Board they also worked elsewhere, which is prohibited by the law and represents incompatibility of offices. Krunić is the director of Ugljevik Mine and Power Plant (RiTE), while Škorić is a member of the supervisory board of the Public utility company “Waterworks and Sewerage” from Bijeljina.

The Commission fined both of them. Krunić will have to return 30 percent of his monthly fee for the next six months, while Škorić will return 10 percent of his monthly fee for his work in the Independent Board. This is because the Commission found they had been in a conflict of interest since March 2014. In other words, Krunić was hit with a 856 KM fine, and Škorić with a 285 KM fine for several years’ worth of violations during which they collected around 36,000 KM and 29,000 KM respectively.

Krunić and Škorić have a 30-day deadline to resolve the conflict by dropping out of one of the offices. If that does not happen, the Commission will initiate termination proceedings to remove them from the Board.

“The Commission will recommend termination to the body that appointed them as a member of the Independent Board and the chairman of the Independent Board,” stated the Commission president Jasmin Emrić to reporters from the Center of Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN).

This is the Commission’s first decision since it was entrusted in 2013 with the role of establishing and sanctioning cases of conflict of interest.

The decision was passed several weeks after CIN found that Krunić had been in a conflict of interest since March 2013 when he was appointed RiTE Ugljevik’s director. In 2013, Krunić was on the payroll of the plant, the board and the Bijeljina City Election Commission gaining him payments that totalled 64,000 KM at the end of the year.

Independent Board in the Service of Politics

As the Board’s president, Krunić received a monthly salary of 1,560 KM between March 2014 and November 2015. In December 2015, the Law on Salaries and Allowances in BiH Institutions was changed and the fee was reduced to 475 KM.

Apart from this, CIN reporters found that during his term as chairman, Krunić was also a member of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD). All political party membership whilst serving on the Board is prohibited by the Law on Independent and Oversight Bodies of Police Structure in BiH. CIN also found that his colleagues from the Board, Mato Jozić and Adisa Begić, were also members of other political parties.

During the last session of the BiH Parliament, legislator Hanka Vajzović filed a motion to end the Independent Board. She listed the following reasons to back her initiative: lack of performance; lack of independence in its work and she also said that the members were overpaid for the work they do.

“Setting up of the so-called independent bodies: the Independent Board, The Citizen’s Complaint Board and the Board for Police Officials’ Appeals…turned out to be completely unsuccessful experiment. They were expensive, with no results and inefficient because they were not ‘independent’ (can be proved)”, Vajzović wrote in her draft.

CIN published official data about the fees that Board members collected since the Board’s inception in September 2009 until October 2016. They collected in total 859,000 KM.

Vajzović’s initiative did not receive support from legislators in the BiH Parliament’s House of Representatives and was scraped.