Scientists File Criminal Charges Against Deputy Science, Education and Sport Minister

Total Croatia News

Chiefs of all ten excellence centres in STEM areas from different Croatian universities and institutes in several cities have decided to file criminal charges against Deputy Minister Krešo Zadro, for the criminal act of misuse of position and authority

Charges were filed to the State Attorney’s office by the Miljević and partners law firm, while the news was announced at a press conference by chiefs of several STEM centres: Hrvoje Buljan, Vlasta Bonačić-Koutecky, Rozelindra Čož-Rakovac, Stipan Jonjić, Gordan Lauc and academician Slobodan Vukičević, reported on July 1, 2016.

The scientists filed the charges as, they claim, Zadro has obstructed the excellence centres, whose selection was made by 300 domestic and international reviewers. EU funds amounting to 50 million Euro are allotted for these centres. Croatia does not have to participate in any way from the state budget, the funds can be withdrawn or not.

Zadro, say the scientists, made a condition to the centres to accept only 20 million Euro, with 30 million directed to others. Scientists claim that until that moment, the entire procedure of the appointment of centres was not in question – at least until they refused.

When the chiefs refused such a division, claiming it would harm the functioning of the centres, Zadro threatened to abolish the existing centres and restart the tender for centres of excellence.

“Suddenly, after we refused, Zadro questioned the very procedure of appointment of excellence centres. Naturally, until we refused, that wasn’t a problem,” said Rozelindra Čož-Rakovac, one of the chiefs.

Scientists at the press conference appealed to the technical government PM, Croatian president and Minister Šustar, asking them to do what is in their power to solve the problem quickly as the court process against Zadro may take years, while in the meantime hundreds of people working in the centres will simply leave Croatia.

The same centres sent an open letter in the beginning of June to Minister Šustar calling on him to end the obstruction of financing from EU funds, costing millions of Euro, the work of hundreds of scientists and even EU penalties.

In order for the centres to make use of the allocated funds, the Ministry was due to release a tender, with the first deadline moved from March 31st to June 1st 2016, with the tender still not available.


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