Witnesses Getting Ready to Testify in Agrokor Parliamentary Investigation

Total Croatia News

No one seems to know anything.

“While I was the Prime Minister, there was no talk about Agrokor, we did not even mention it. But, I have some information on the basis of monitoring this process over a number of years, and therefore I would probably be able to answer some questions,” said former Croatian Prime Minister Josip Manolić (1990-1991), who will be invited to one of the first sessions of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry on Agrokor, reports tportal.hr on October 28, 2017.

At the same time, the largest opposition party SDP is reportedly thinking about leaving the Committee, which was initiated by them. The reason is the fact that committee members from the ruling parties, HDZ and HNS, have rejected all the witnesses proposed by opposition MPs. While the opposition wanted to discuss the more recent events concerning Agrokor and this government, HDZ intends to turn the focus towards more distant past and hopes that the expected launch of the official criminal investigation will mean that the Parliamentary Committee will have to suspend its operation, although it is yet to hold a single substantive session.

On Friday, Committee members are expected to question two witnesses, Agrokor owner Ivica Todorić’s father and Stjepan Mesić, former Croatian Prime Minister (1990) and President (2000-2010). Four days after that, if the Committee is not suspended in the meantime, they will question Manolić, and former privatisation officials Ivan Penić and Milan Kovač.

Ante Todorić (90), the father of Ivica Todorić, is in poor health and it is not sure he will come. Mesić, the first Croatian Prime Minister, has already announced that he will appear but added he did not know anything about the rise of Agrokor. Manolić (97), who was Prime Minister after Mesić, will also attend the session.

The situation with Penić and Kovač, two former heads of the Croatian Privatization Fund, is quite interesting. At the initial Committee meeting on Thursday, HDZ’s MP said they wanted to invite witnesses who were in charge of privatisation of formerly socialist companies, but did not know their names, so they searched for their names on the internet. And they made a mistake. They apparently did not know that the privatisation process was initially led by the Agency for Restructuring and Development, which means that three other officials should have been questioned before these two.

Kovač himself pointed to this mistake. “The privatisation process was completed by 1993 and was led by Zdravko Mršić, Jurica Pavelić and Zlatko Mateša. The Committee said they would proceed chronologically, but they did not invite them. This is a circus. By mid-1995, when I was appointed the chairman of the Fund, I did not know anything about Agrokor. I do not have any information about Agrokor, and during my term, Todorić did not buy any of the shares which his company owns now,” said Kovač, confirming that he would still appear in front of the Committee.

He took over the Fund from Penić, who also says that Committee members will not benefit from his testimony. “Of course I will come, but I do not know absolutely anything about Agrokor,” Penić said.

Translated from tportal.hr.


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