Seven Persons Sanctioned for Conflict of Interest
Transparency International officials think that there’s less interest for the prevention of conflict of interest.
By the Center for Investigative Reporting
Due to the violations of the Law on Conflict of Interest, the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina (CIK BiH) disciplined seven persons last year. They will not be able to run for office in the next four years, according to Transparency International (TI) in BiH. In its report on the monitoring of the law’s implementation TI BiH concluded the prevention of conflict of interest was losing ground.
Out of 13 cases to establish the conflict of interest that CIK started last year, six have been thrown out. Professor Muris Čičić of Sarajevo School of Economy was fined 1,000 KM and banned from running for office, because CIK learned that he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Agency for Higher Education at the same time when he was BiH Lottery’s Board member.
Apart from the ban to run for office, CIK also fined Jure Zečević with 5,000 KM, after it was found that he was a legislator with the Posavina Canton and a co-owner and an officer in the private firm Zeko Promet in Odžak.
A legislator with Travnik City Council Faruk Hadžić is banned from running for office in the next four years because his father Jusuf Hadžić was during that time a member of the assembly of private company Fara Travnik. Hadžić was fined 2,000 KM.
Boško Barišić, a legislator with Jajce municipality was fined 8,000 KM along with the ban to run for office in the coming elections. CIK established that he could not be a legislator and a member of the Komotin firm’s assembly which won contracts worth more than 5,000 KM from the budget.
The director of a Matuzići primary school “21 March” Dževad Hopić and a Tešanj legislator Benjamin Smailbegović were also banned. Hopić was sanctioned because he was a member of the Supervisory Board of Vis Utility Company in Doboj-Jug at the same time when he was the school’s director. Smailbegović was fined 1,000 KM because he was also a member of the Supervisory Board of the Zenica-Doboj Canton’s Forestry Company.
“This bears out the earlier findings that mainly lower level office holders are sanctioned while those at the higher levels are protected,” said officials of TI in BiH.
TI BiH officials warn that the Law on Conflict of Interest in BiH government institutions has been amended four times since its inception. In this way its scope has been made more and more narrow. “The most drastic approach to weakening of the law is present in the new project of the Amendments which the BiH Council of Ministers adopted and whose goal is the full politization of the process of deciding on the conflict of interests and liberalization of regulations,” said TI BiH officials.
The organization’s officials point at the mismatch between the sanctions and potentially gained profit. Since the beginning of the Law’s implementation, CIK has handed down 118 fines totaling 409,500 KM. Of these, just 267,380 KM was collected.
“When comparing the influx of money into budget through sanctions and the damage caused by the conflict of interest of public officials, media and other reports often talk about multimillion sums. The disproportion that benefits those who have a conflict of interest is more than apparent,” wrote TI BiH representatives in the report.
Published April 30, 2013