ZAGREB, May 24, 2018 – Social Democratic Party (SDP) Presidency member Siniša Hajdaš Dončić told reporters in the parliament on Thursday that he and party vice-president Peđa Grbin had reported Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to the parliamentary Conflict of Interest Commission over allegations of conflict of interest in the drafting of the law on emergency administration in systemic companies, dubbed Lex Agrokor.
“Grbin and I have analysed the material concerning Plenković’s role in the drafting of Lex Agrokor and we reported him today to the Conflict of interest Commission, thus helping it to launch proceedings against him,” said Hajdaš Dončić, adding that they did it on their own behalf, as members of parliament, and not on behalf of their party.
Commenting on Plenković’s role in the affair, Hajdaš Dončić said that it concerned “the hiring of some partners to write Lex Agrokor, as evident from the emails and media reports”.
Asked where he saw elements of conflict of interest, Hajdaš Dončić said that “the law is very clear – ministries, whenever they draft a law, must form an expert task force for that purpose and if they need expert advice, they pay external consultants for it.”
“The situation in this case is very clear and simple – they avoided forming a task force and instead hired people who later sought remuneration exclusively from Agrokor. As will be seen in the coming months, Lex Agrokor will have major financial repercussions for the state budget, and those repercussions are already visible because pension funds have incurred losses just as the state-owned banks HBOR and HPB have lost a portion of their claims. So this is definitely an instance of conflict of interest on the part of the Prime Minister and a case of undemocratic and non-transparent drafting of a law,” Hajdaš Dončić said.
Dismissing the government’s claims that it had worked under tight deadlines, Hajdaš Dončić said that “they (government) could have sought and paid for advice from the Law Faculty or any other expert, and no one can tell me that a law with fewer than 30 articles can cost more than 200,000 kuna.” He added that Plenković’s actions were to the benefit of the so-called Borg group and to the detriment of public interest.
Earlier in the day, SDP whip Arsen Bauk said that the SDP would not report Plenković to the Conflict of Interest Commission yet as they “can do it at any time.” “The public is now preoccupied with the emails and Plenković’s relatively unsuccessful attempts to distance himself from the whole affair,” Bauk said, adding that the SDP was waiting for more information so it could submit a well-substantiated report.
Bauk believes that the Conflict of Interest Commission can also launch proceedings against the prime minister on its own, but its chair Nataša Novaković told Nova TV on Wednesday that it would not launch any proceedings until it collected all relevant information.