Whistleblower commissioner Vesna Balenović dismissed by the Croatian President.
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović hs dismissed her whistleblower commissioner Vesna Balenović after it was confirmed that Whistleblower Association, in which Balenović serves as the chairwoman, received a donation of 500.000 kuna from INA, Balenović’s former employer, according to a report in Novilist on July 30, 2015. The president said that she was not informed of that donation at the time when she appointed Balenović as the commissioner for whistleblowers, people who expose information and activities which are deemed illegal or dishonest. The President believes that the acceptance of such donations undermined the credibility and impartiality of Vesna Balenović.
Vesna Balenović on Thursday said she was not surprised by the decision of President Grabar-Kitarović. It only confirmed her suspicions that she was appointed by the president “just for formal reasons, without a genuine desire for cooperation and real intention to help whistleblowers and fight against crime and corruption”.
She complained that during the past four months she had not been invited to regular meetings with the president. “The President ignored all my requests to meet with whistleblowers, to listen to their problems and to try to find a solution. Unfortunately, due to my complete isolation, I haven’t had the opportunity to request the support of the President for the adoption of the Law on Whistleblowers”, said Balenović in a statement.
“Donations which the President mentioned are a normal, transparent form of financing of civil society organizations which cannot undermine anyone’s credibility and impartiality. Each donation, including a donation from INA, represents a recognition for achievements in the fight against crime and corruption and in the protection of human and labour rights of citizens”, said Balenović.
She concluded that “the real controversy is not the donation from INA, but the fact that crime in INA was never prosecuted”.