Conflict of Interest Commission President Discusses Political Pressures

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 31, 2019 – The chairwoman of the Conflict of Interest Commission, Nataša Novaković, said on Friday that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković’s request that she be exempted from that case made the commission’s work harder and added that if the prime minister considers that she may be biased, he had a lot more time to have made that request before yesterday afternoon.

Novaković did not wish to respond to reporters when asked if these developments were putting pressure on the commission and whether the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and prime minister were “waging a war” against her seeing that the commission has recently come under fire from HDZ’s MPs and now that the prime minister has called for her exemption.

On Friday the commission was to have discussed if the prime minister was in conflict of interest regarding his activities in the drafting of the Act on Emergency Administration in Companies of Systemic Importance (Lex Agrokor) but failed to do so as Plenković on Thursday called for Novaković to be exempted from the case.

Novaković said the request posed a procedural obstacle to the further conduct of proceedings in the case until the relevant body makes a decision on her exemption.

Plenković claimed that Novaković had been an employee of the Croatian Employers Association (HUP), which was connected with Agrokor, which was why she had to exempt herself from any segment of the proceedings concerning the government’s actions regarding Agrokor, including the adoption of a decision in the case against Plenković.

If the prime minister considers that I may be biased because Agrokor was a member HUP, then “there was plenty of time to have communicated that before yesterday afternoon,” said Novakovic.

After Friday’s meeting, Novaković said that they still do not know who the relevant body was that is to decide on her exemption as this is the first time this has ever occurred. She added that she has consulted with several experts about that relevant body but their opinions differ considerably.

Some experts said that should be a parliamentary committee while others claim that the relevant body is the Administrative Court, others yet again have said that the remaining members of the commission should make that decision.

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


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