The Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) motioned the Court of BiH to have a member of the Procurement Review Body (PRB), Dragan Vukajlović, suspended while he’s investigated for allegations of having taken 40,000 KM in bribes.
Vukajlović is suspected of taking money from a former member of the Republika Srpska (RS) National Assembly, Siniša Dodik. Prosecutors believe that Dodik is the beneficial owner of an East Sarajevo firm Elektrounion.
The Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) has earlier reported how Vukajlović officially dealt with the complaint that Elektrounion filed against the public company RS Roads.
The PRB decided that RS Roads should pay an indemnity to Elektrounion worth 3.4 million KM.
The prosecutors motioned the Court of BiH to suspend Vukajlović until the criminal proceedings against him are over. Prosecutors said that Vukajlović, even though he’s been under investigation, continues to work on the Elektrounion case.
Prosecutor Miroslav Janjić said that Vukajlović admitted that certain persons had put a pressure on him and that he had taken money from Dodik on several occasions in the combined amount of 40,000 KM.
“Thus, at this moment, Dragan Vukajlović is involved in a case for which he admitted to having received financial gain,” said Janjić. “By continuing to serve Dragan Vukajlović might be left to finish the crime.”
Vukajlović’s lawyer Lejla Čović said that the motion was unfounded. She said that after he was arrested, Vukajlović himself asked to be exempted from the case, but the PRB did not accept his plea. “He has no interest to behave against the law,” said Čović. “He even has no influence because all decisions are passed unanimously”.
Vukajlović said that no one from the PRB members had a concurring opinion in this case and that he as an individual could do nothing, because decisions are passed by majority vote.
The Court will issue a decision about Vukajlović’s suspension in due time.
Because of PRB’s decision, RS Roads paid the indemnity to the company that did not even bid on its tender put out in 2012. Instead, the firm first complained to RS Roads and then to the PRB.
The PRB ordered RS Roads to halt the procurement until PRB decided. That halt lasted for 15 days only. As the PRB made no decisions within that time, the company contracted another firm.
Elektrounion complained that it was damaged and asked for indemnification.
PRB members concluded that RS Roads violated the law by signing the contract and not letting Elektrounion prepare its offer. The PRB estimated that the company was damaged to the tune of several millions.
In October 2016, the Court of BiH concluded that there was no reason to award more than 3 million KM in damages and it rescinded PRB’s decision. Meanwhile, the PRB had to issue a new decision on indemnity.
Following the ruling, the officers of the State Investigation and Protection Agency arrested Elektrounion director Duško Lazarević and Vukajlović on suspicion of illegally awarding damages.