TI Wins Branković Appeal

CIK must decide on conflict of interest

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has upheld the appeal of Transparency International (TI) asking the court to order the BiH Central Election Commission (CIK) to rule on whether Federation of BiH Prime Minister Nedžad Branković’s share in a management company administering the privatization fund was a conflict of interest.

The CIK first denied it had jurisdiction. TI appealed to the Court of BiH on the grounds that Branković had been in conflict of interest as the biggest individual stakeholder in the ABDS management company. It contended that Branković, because he is prime minister, is prohibited from being a stakeholder in ABDS. The court agreed that the CIK should come to a decision and that court expenses would be paid by the CIK.

Maksida Bajramović, the election commission’s spokeperson, said: ‘The court order was only mentioned at the CIK’s assembly in January. Of course the CIK does not comment on the Court’s decisions but acts according to them, which means the procedure is underway and the CIK will follow the court’s order and decide whether Branković is in conflict of interest o r not.’

Bajramović said that when that decision would be issued depends on how soon the CIK receives all the required documentation.

Branković has also said that he has sold his shares.

The Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) published stories about Branković and his activities in September and December 2007. CIN journalists found evidence that Branković had bought an apartment in Sarajevo’s Ciglane neighborhood through questionable methods, in addition to uhaving a stake in ABDS.

CIN’s stories were published by media in BiH and abroad. The Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office in Sarajevo requested and received documents from CIN that were used to develop the stories.