ZAGREB, September 21, 2018 – The political secretary of the MOST opposition party, Nikola Grmoja, is manipulating and lying when he says that Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić has done nothing about alleged unlawful activities in the Croatian Embassy in Washington and the Croatian Embassy in Canberra, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday, citing a decision by the USKOK anti-corruption office.
Grmoja said at a press conference today that the State Audit had established that former Croatian ambassador in Washington Joško Paro had unlawfully paid 1.9 million kuna to locals, and that in 2016 the ministry’s secretary-general, Loreta Bertoša-Kušen was transferred to the embassy in Canberra, where her husband was serving as ambassador, which is contrary to ministry rules. The two cases were reported to the authorities by former ministry staffer Damir Sabljak.
The ministry said in a press release that it received on September 19 an USKOK decision dismissing Sabljak’s criminal complaint about Bertoša-Kušen’s transfer to Australia as well as his claims about the State Audit Office’s findings about locals hired at the embassy in Washington in 2016.
The USKOK decision refuted any accusation of alleged scams and their cover-up by the ministry, the press release said.
MP Grmoja is lying and manipulating when he claims that Minister Pejčinović Burić has done nothing nor taken any action, the ministry said, adding that USKOK established that the ministry had done everything that was within its remit.
Based on the facts and the USKOK decision, there are no elements to launch proceedings against civil servants at the Foreign Ministry for breach of contract, the ministry said.