Government and ruling party spokesmen deny allegations of influence-peddling

NEWS 31.01.2023 17:45
Marko Prpic/PIXSELL/ilustracija

Government spokesman Marko Milic and ruling party HDZ spokesman Zoltan Kabok on Tuesday denied an article published in the Croatian Nacional weekly, alleging that they helped certain persons get hired at the Hrvatske Sume state-owned forest management company through its CEO Krunoslav Jakupcic.

The government spokesman previously denied the allegations in a statement for Hina.

“This is yet one more in a series of incorrect and misleading articles. As regards the employment of Niko Dujmovic, the correspondence between me and Jakupcic is dated 30 September 2019, and Niko Dujmovic was hired by Hrvatske Sume in line with the prescribed procedure and publicly invited applications from July 2018,” said Milic in reference to Nacional’s having published text messages between him and Jakupcic that infer that Milic asked Jakupcic to hire Dujmovic.

Nacional claims that Jakupcic also did favours to Economy Minister Davor Filipovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s chief of staff Zvonimir Frka Petesic and HDZ secretary-general Krunoslav Katicic.

According to Nacional, Katicic forwarded Jakupcic a message by Zoltan Kabok, spokesman for the ruling party.

“Dear Mr Katicic, I hope you enjoyed the reception yesterday. Let me just continue on what I mentioned yesterday regarding Hrvatske Sume and my young friend. His name is Josip Juric, a recently graduated forestry engineer who definitely wants to find a job in the field in Croatia. Thank you very much, kind regards, Zoltan.”

Kabok told Hina that he was not the author of the text message published by Nacional and that he did not attend the reception mentioned in it.

“I do not know who Josip Juric is, and I have never addressed Krunoslav Katicic as ‘Dear Mr’ because we are on a first-name basis,” Kabok said.

Nacional also reports that Jakupcic asked Milic for permission when hiring staff on his own.

“Marko, I have a request. Please ask the Boss about a hiring in H. Sume – Branko Filipeti (hunting trainee). He knows who I have in mind. Thank you, bye,” Jakupcic wrote in a text message on 5 September 2018.

“It is absolutely unclear why the CEO of Hrvatske Sume should consult with the prime minister about hiring someone for such a low position in the company he manages. But on the other hand, it may indicate the degree to which PM Plenkovic is involved in selecting personnel in state-owned companies,” the weekly says.

Jakupcic’s cell phone was confiscated in May 2020 when he was arrested in the Windpark scandal on suspicion of abuse of office and influence-peddling.


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