President Milanovic Says will Discuss JANAF Case with PM

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JANAF case
JANAF case

ZAGREB, Sept 26, 2020  – President Zoran Milanovic said on Saturday in Pregrada that the solution to the JANAF case should be control, responsibility and cooperation in line with the Constitution and that he would meet with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic to discuss the case.

The Prime Minister and his associates have spoken about the new scandal merely at the level of slogans from communist political schools, he said.

“That is not enough. He and I can consider the issue together, we can convene the National Security Council. I have also thought about that, but I am not sure that would bear fruit given the legal composition of the council and the role of some of its members,” he added.

Milanovic said that a topic he and PM Andrej Plenkovic could discuss was how investigative bodies were acting. He also said that the leaking of information related to the investigation in the JANAF case constituted not only a violation of the rules under which an investigation was not a public matter but also a violation of basic moral principles.

One must be able to trust the government, Plenkovic cannot run away from responsibility

“One has to be able to trust someone at the top of the chain of command, first of all in the Croatian government. That is the prime minister and he cannot run away from responsibility,” Milanovic said.

Asked whether he considered it strange that a man who had been a director for about 15 years, but whose salary had not been that large, owned a private club, Milanovic said that he did not because it was a small space of 30 square meters, and Dragan Kovacevic was not the only owner.

I was there several times, accompanied by a small number of people, he added.

As for his visits to the club during the lockdown, Milanovic said he had met there with the head of the national COVID-19 response team for practical reasons.

“Because that was during the lockdown and because a friend from Dalmatia called me who had a lot of food he would have otherwise thrown away because he had no one to give it to, we met there because it was more practical,” he said, adding that this was “such a silly topic.”

Asked whether he should have been informed that he was socialising with a man who was under investigation, the President responded with a counterquestion — who would have informed him about it.

“SOA (Security and Intelligence Agency) does not have that kind of information because it does not take part in stealing money from public companies and it cannot have such information. It is one thing to be cordial to someone and that is a question of my responsibility and my judgement, but if I am in a situation to evaluate someone, to appoint them, then I have a different kind of information, but SOA is not connected to that,” he added.

Asked how the case should end, Milanovic said that the solution to it was in control, responsibility, and cooperation in line with the Constitution, as well as in the separation of powers because, he added, everything was prescribed in a clear way.

Office: President to meet with PM

President Milanovic’s office said in a statement later in the day that Milanovic would discuss the JANAF case and the functioning of state institutions with PM Plenkovic.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Pregrada, Milanovic said that the topic of ambassadors which Plenkovic wanted to discuss with him would be “a topic of secondary importance (at the meeting), while the real topic will be the way this country functions.”

“… It is important to discuss how this state functions, to finally see what the prime minister knows,” Milanovic said.

“For months his ministers had put themselves in a situation to compromise themselves, quite unnecessarily. Someone should have known about and prevented that. Not to mention damage to JANAF. That is a topic for discussion between the prime minister and myself because we represent the state authorities, he has greater powers than I do and that is why I will adapt to his schedule. Speaking of the principle of separation of powers, there is also the principle of cooperation between state institutions. One has to be able to trust someone… at the top of the chain of command, primarily in the government. That person is the prime minister and he cannot run away from responsibility,” said Milanovic.

He noted that the prime minister had told him that they had to meet.

“I do not have the last say here, he does, but I will not stop talking. This is simply a test which has shown that Croatia has a problem,” Milanovic said as cited by his office.

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