Bernardić Violated Principle of Conflict of Interest Act

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 30, 2019 – The Conflict of Interest Commission on Wednesday established that Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernardić had violated the principle of transparent action under the Conflict of Interest Act when he had accepted a scholarship from Zagreb’s Cotrugli Business School in 2014.

There are no sanctions for violations of that article of the law.

In October 2018, the Conflict of Interest Commission initiated proceedings against the Opposition leader and member of parliament Davor Bernardić for receiving a scholarship from Zagreb’s Cotrugli Business School. The agreement on scholarship also bound Bernardić to have 120 hours of research and scientific activities as well as consulting work and to promote that private school.

At the time when he accepted the scholarship agreement, he was the leader of the SDP branch in Zagreb and a politician, and had stopped pursuing his career of researcher three years before.

In October 2018 the rapporteur on this case, Davorin Ivanjek, said that an anonymous complaint had been filed against Bernardić following media reports that he had completed the Chief Executive MBA program at Cotrugli Business School, which costs some 263,000 kuna (35,500 euros). Bernardić had the program paid for him with a scholarship which, according to the complaint, qualifies as an impermissible gift.

Ivanjek said that it could be concluded from Bernardić’s public statements that he had received the scholarship from the private company Cotrugli d.o.o. which owns Cotrugli Business School.

Noting that in this case Bernardić did not receive any money, Ivanjek said that free lectures could be considered a free service which may put an office holder in a dependable position and create an obligation towards the donor.

More news about conflict of interest issues can be found in the Politics section.


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