Another scandal in Croatian politics, this time concerning the Foreign Ministry, led at the time by Vesna Pusić.
The State Audit Office has announced it had found irregularities in business operations of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs during the term of office of Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić (HNS), related to payments under special contracts, reports Index.hr on August 10, 2016.
From 2013 to the end of 2015, an administrative secretary which is employed at the Ministry reportedly received almost 300,000 kuna gross through special contracts for services, even though the assignments she worked on were a part of her regular duties for which she received her regular salary.
The employee was assigned a position of administrative secretary in the Office of the Minister, for which she received a regular salary. However, in July 2013 and in January and December 2014, the Ministry signed additional special contracts with the employee for collecting and processing of documents and other activities. “Based on these special contracts, the employee in 2013, 2014 and 2015 received financial compensation (28 monthly payments) totalling 297,783.00 kuna gross, of which 120,808.00 kuna relates to payments in 2015.
“The provisions of the Law on Civil Servants stipulate that certain assignments that are performed in a state body can be given to providers of professional services outside the civil service. However, such contracts cannot be signed with members of the civil service. The above demonstrates that it was not allowed for the Ministry to sign special contracts with a person who was already an employee of the Ministry, since the assignments which were covered by the contracts were supposed to be performed as part of her regular duties”, the State Audit Office report states.
The State Audit Office will submit a report about the violations to Parliament and to the State Attorney’s Office.
Vesna Pusić has still not commented on the issue.
Pusić was the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in the government of Zoran Milanović (SDP) from 2011 to 2016. After the resignation of Radimir Čačić from the government, she was also the First Deputy Prime Minister. Since January, she has been the Deputy Speaker of Parliament as a representative of the opposition. At the elections in September, she will be a candidate of the People’s Coalition in the first parliamentary constituency.