HDZ and SDP Demand Quick Investigation of Illegal Payments Scandal

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Two largest parties demand urgent investigation of the scandal involving illegal payments in the office of former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović.

HDZ Parliamentary Group called on competent authorities to immediately investigate the affair regarding possible illegal payments of per diem travel allowances paid in the office of former Prime Minister and SDP president Zoran Milanović. Milanović’s party supported HDZ’s request, reports Večernji List on February 8, 2017.

“We know that state institutions are already carrying out certain procedures and we call on them to do it as quickly as possible, in order to professionally and transparently bring this case to an end so that we would know the truth, while those responsible should be held accountable”, said MP Jasen Mesić (HDZ). He pointed out that HDZ would not, unlike their opposition colleagues, accuse anyone of collective responsibility, but will respect the decisions of independent institutions.

Mesić noted that the former SDP-led government had systematically ignored HDZ’s warnings related to non-transparent spending of funds and other issues. “In March 2014, HDZ asked the government who and how uses official credit cards, money for business entertainment expenses and official cars, and we received a response only after a year and two months. The same question was put to Prime Minister Milanović, but he casually dismissed it as insinuations and said that, while there were errors, omissions and recklessness, there were no violations of regulations”, said Mesić.

“I am very confident that the institutions will determine that political officials had nothing to do with this. I cannot say that for sure, but I think it is a very high probability”, said Arsen Bauk (SDP), joining the HDZ’s appeal to the institutions. He added that it would be good to leave some time to institutions to do their job.

Bauk thanked the media which had performed their role when other institutions did not react, but he added that the state institution can now correct their mistake, punish the culprits and return the money to the budget. He reiterated SDP’s position that rival parties were not behind the scandal. “Mesić’s soft tone today further strengthens such impression”, said Bauk.

The State Audit Office recently found suspicious payments in office of former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović while he was in power. According to the audit report for 2015, his office paid 307,785 kuna for international travel per diems to his special advisers Neven Budak, Siniša Petrović and Slavko Goldstein. However, they claim that they did not travel anywhere and did not receive any money. Travel expenses and per diems were allegedly approved by Tomislav Saucha, at the time the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister, who claims that he had not actually approved any per diems to the advisors. On Monday, Saucha and the advisers gave their statements to the Office of State Prosecutor.


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