Stricter Rules for Legislators’ Allowances

After CIN’s investigation into legislative abuse, the FBiH Parliament’s House of Peoples introduced new rules for the use of living-away-from home and accommodation allowances in Sarajevo.

CIN investigation into lawmakers abuse of accommodation and living-away-from-home allowances led to an overhaul of rules in the FBiH Parliament. (Photo: CIN)

From April onward, legislators at the House of Peoples in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) Parliament will be asked to give a statement that they and their family members don’t own real property in Sarajevo Canton when applying for accommodation and living-away-from home allowances. In case it turns out that legislators misstated facts, they could be held criminally accountable.

In addition to this, the Reporters from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) in Sarajevo also learned from House staffers that legislators will have to have the said statement certified by a notary public or municipal clerk and provide a list of all the residents at their home address.

The House’s secretary Izmir Hadžiavdić told CIN about these changes and said how CIN’s two-year-old investigation into legislative abuse has contributed to these changes.

CIN reporters found that since the beginning of 2015, lawmakers often rented in old and decrepit buildings far from the FBiH Parliament’s building. Some let others live in the places the government rented for them. One legislator owned a condo at a time when the FBiH Parliament paid a rent for him in a house not ready to be lived in that a friend was building. At least half of legislators entitled to accommodations had no use for them, and many could not tell CIN’s reporters their locations.

Over the past 2.5 years, more than 825,000 KM was spent to reimburse 35 legislators for these expenses.

Acting on behalf of Sarajevo Canton Prosecutor’s Office, the Federation Police Administration (FPA) requested paperwork from the FBiH House of Peoples on living expenses of the House legislators. An investigation is ongoing. The Administrative Commission had not held a session since 2017 when CIN published its investigation, until the new legislators and new commission members were appointed. The commission’s first session put on agenda the new rules for the use of allowances.