ZAGREB, March 9, 2020 – The Zagreb Administrative Court has admitted a lawsuit by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and quashed a decision by the Conflict of Interest Commission under which in the case of appointment of his close friend Igor Pokaz as Ambassador to the UK, Plenković had breached principles of conscientious and transparent conduct.
The Administrative Court’s ruling quashes the Commission’s decision and suspends the proceedings in the case and the Conflict of Interest Commission is instructed to compensate the plaintiff for litigation costs in the amount of HRK 3,125.
The Conflict of Interest Commission, however, has said that it will appeal against the Administrative Court’s ruling with the High Administrative Court as well as that it will continue with the practice of determining violation of principles of conduct by office-holders.
The Commission referred to the decision by the High Administrative Court of 12 September 2019 in a case where the plaintiff was Jasmin Bajić and which confirmed that practice. It said that the ruling of the High Administrative Court in question was adopted following the Administrative Court’s decision of 2 July 2019 in a case concerning former HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko, to which the Zagreb Administrative Court referred in its first-instance ruling.
At a session held on 11 October 2019, the Conflict of Interest Commission decided that Plenkovic had breached the principle of conscientious and transparent conduct by failing to declare that Pokaz was his close friend when proposing him for the position of ambassador.
In a lawsuit filed with the Administrative Court the prime minister contested the Commission’s authority to make declaratory decisions whereby it determines violation of principles of conduct because he believes that the relevant legal regulation exclusively defines general principles of conduct for office-holders and that the relevant law does not envisage the possibility of imposing sanctions over violation of those principles.
The prime minister has also sued the Conflict of Interest Commission over its decision in a case related to a trip of a senior government delegation to Helsinki, where they attended the annual assembly of the European People’s Party. A hearing in that case has been set for March 19.
More news about conflict of interest issues can be found in the Politics section.