MP Tomislav Saucha recently cast the crucial vote in the Parliament in support of Finance Minister Zdravko Marić.
For procedural reasons, the Judge of the Zagreb County Court, Oliver Mittermayer, annulled the official decision to expand the investigation against Member of Parliament Tomislav Saucha in the affair connected with fictitious official travel and has returned the case to the prosecution for a review, reports N1 on May 17, 2017.
Court spokesman Krešimir Devčić said the prosecution’s decision was annulled due to procedural reasons, since the Law on Criminal Procedure does not include the term “expansion of investigation,”. Rather, a new investigation should have been launched which could then be merged with the previous one.
Tomislav Saucha, former chief of staff of former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, is still a suspect in the affair, because the decision on launching the initial investigation is still in force. Saucha is suspected of abusing the office and forging official and business documents for fake official travel.
The Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) has launched the initial investigation against Saucha on the basis of information from the State Audit Office, which reported that 307,000 kuna were paid in 2015 for the official travel of special advisors to the Prime Minister. However, the advisors said that they did not travel anywhere and that they did not receive any money for the alleged travel expenses.
Saucha, as the chief of staff of the Prime Minister, from November 2013 to January 2016, was in charge of issuing and signing travel documents for official travel, as well as for approving all payments related to travel. Saucha allegedly ordered his secretary to prepare documents for travel which never happened.
The prosecution suspects that Saucha benefited from the budget in the amount of 540,000 kuna and 1,360 euros. In the now annulled decision to expand the investigation, USKOK also suspected Saucha’s former secretary Sandra Zeljko of continuing with the illegal activities after Saucha left the government in January 2016. Her activities allegedly continued until February this year, during which period she falsified signatures of subsequent chiefs of staff to prime ministers, Neven Zelić and Davor Božinović, and took almost 350,000 kuna.
As a member of Parliament, Saucha recently cast the deciding vote in the Parliament in support of Finance Minister Zdravko Marić. His decision to support the government was surprising, since Saucha was a longtime member of the opposition SDP. His vote raised questions about his motives for suddenly supporting the government. Both he and the government rejected allegations that he switched sides in order to improve his position in the ongoing investigation.