Candidates for Municipal Mayor Positions under Investigation or with Sentences

Friday August 10th, 2012
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Senaid Memić was sentenced to three months for obstruction of justice. (Photo: CIN)

At least eight candidates for municipal mayor positions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) do not have an impeccable past, but this will not have any effect on their running for office found an investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN).

The candidates for the municipal mayor positions in Kiseljak, Ilidža and Konjic have been sentenced for abuse of office or obstruction of justice. The candidates for the municipal mayor positions in Cazin, Kakanj and Visoko are under police investigation for abuse of office or fraud. A candidate for a municipal mayor position in Novi Travnik was for years forbidden from running for political office by the Office of High Representative, while the Central Election Commission sanctioned a candidate for a municipal mayor position in Novo Sarajevo because of conflict of interest. Persons sentenced to more than six months in prison cannot run for office according to the Election Law in BiH, but those with probation sentences, or whose sentence was commuted to a fine or were pardoned for their offences are not under the purview of the law.

Pero Mađar (HDZ 1990) is running for a municipal mayor position in Kiseljak. He served in that office right after the end of the war in BiH. He was sentenced to eight months in prison on the abuse of office charges in Dec. 2005 for obstructing the return of expellees and giving away of municipal land. He was pardoned to a two-year probation by the Federation BiH president Borjana Krišto in Dec. 2009. “I think that I was unjustly sanctioned,” Mađar told CIN.

Senaid Memić (SDA), the municipal mayor in Ilidža intends to stay in office. The Court of BiH issued a legally binding sentence against Memić in 2006 because he verbally assaulted Judge Nenad Šeleda as he read a verdict concerning Memić’s son Senad, accused of illegal possession of weapons and explosive materials. He was sentenced to three months in prison.

According to a CIN story Memić was pardoned in May 2008 when his prison sentence was commuted to a two-year parole. “I’m an honorable man. I’m not a criminal. I defend my country and my family. I do not regret my actions for one second and I stand by them,” Memić told CIN.

A candidate for the municipal mayor position in Konjic is the current mayor Emir Bubalo (SDA). He was sentenced by the Municipal court in Konjic in 2010 to a one-year parole for fraud during his service for giving a concession license to the Oblokomerc firm without obtaining a prior approval of the government of Herzegovina Neretva Canton.

The candidates for the municipal mayor positions in three municipalities are under investigation. One of them is the current Cazin mayor Nermin Ogrešević (ASDA), who stands to win a second term if elected at the October elections. Financial police in FBiH submitted a report in Nov. 2008 accusing Ogrešević of abuse in office because he gave grants to farmers without putting out calls for applications and contracted suppliers without bids. The municipality budget was thus damaged for 300,000 KM. Ogrešević told CIN that he was not aware of that information and that he gave no statement to the Prosecutor’s Office. He said that everyone should do their job.

“Filing criminal complaints is an ongoing thing in this country. A criminal complaint means nothing. The fact that I was not called by the prosecutors speaks for itself.”

Financial police is conducting an investigation also against Vahid Hećo (SBiH), a candidate for municipal mayor position in Visoko, on charges of abuse of office during his term in office as the FBiH Minister of Energy, Mining and Industry. He is suspected of damaging the FBiH Oil Terminals in the amount of around 9.5 million KM, and Zrak in the amount of 3.2 million KM.

The Municipal Attorney General Office in Zagreb, Croatia has an ongoing investigation against a candidate for municipal mayor position Niko Lozančić (HDZ BiH) on fraud charges. Between Feb. 2000 and Aug. 2009, Lozančić received Croatian military pension as a disabled veteran even though he had no right to it because he was a state legislator in BiH at the time. The Croatian authorities accused him of syphoning of 157,000 KM of taxpayer money.

A candidate for municipal mayor position in Novi Travnik Nikola Lovrinović (HDZ BiH) was prohibited from running for office from 2005 until this March by the former High Representative Paddy Ashdown because Lovrinović opposed dismantling of “two schools under one roof” in Central Bosnian Canton where he was the education minister.

A candidate for municipal mayor position in Novo Sarajevo is Dželaludin Muharemović (SDP), an incumbent municipal councilor. A July 2010 CIK decision fined him 1,500 KM for conflict of interest because he was at the same time a municipal councilman and the director of Željezničar soccer club which received municipal grants. Muharemović said that CIK’s decision was illogical because he had been sanctioned for a 100,000 KM grant received from the Sarajevo City Council. He said this decision was adopted in March 2009, while he became a club’s office in July.

According to CIK, currently 550 candidates have had their nominations approved. There is still time for the approval of nominations and the final number of candidates will be known at the end of the week when the appeal deadline is over. The final list will have a final list of candidates for municipal mayor positions in 139 municipalities in the country.

Published Aug. 10, 2012

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The Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) work is available for free to all organizations that credit CIN as their source and link to www.cin.ba.

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