ZAGREB, September 18, 2020 – The Croatian parliament on Friday lifted the immunity of three MPs to face corruption charges.
It was an unprecedented decision in parliament’s recent history because never before had three lawmakers been stripped of immunity from criminal prosecution in a single day.
The MPs in question are Drazen Barisic (HDZ), the mayor of Velika Gorica, Darko Puljasic (HDZ), the mayor of Pozega, and Vinko Grgic (SDP), the mayor of Nova Gradiska.
The decision was carried by 121 votes in favour and one abstention in the case of Barisic and by 123 votes in favour and two abstentions in the cases of Puljasic and Grgic.
Barisic and Grgic are suspected in a corruption case involving the state-run JANAF oil pipeline operator and the Elektrocentar Petek company from Ivanic Grad. A total of 13 persons are suspected of financial wrongdoing in this case.
Barisic is suspected of influence peddling and misuse of position and authority, while Grgic is suspected of bribe taking.
Puljasic is connected with another case – the extension of a primary school in Pozega. It has been found that the city administration received funding for this project from the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds although no work was done. It is suspected that this was done on the basis of an agreement that was falsified by Puljasic.
On Thursday, Barisic suspended his term in parliament and was replaced by Mato Cicak, the mayor of Rugvica. Cicak was sworn in on Friday.