Chief State Prosecutor Zlata Hrvoj-Sipek on Tuesday presented the work of her office (DORH) in 2020, saying that DORH was not the one to leak information in the "Wind Park" and "JANAF" corruption cases, state agency Hina said.
She also said that former Chief State Prosecutor Drazen Jelenic was suspended because “he did not provide evidence that he had ceased to be a member of a Masonic lodge,” Hina informed the public.
Jelenic did not jeopardise DORH’s work
Asked if in the past ten months Jelenic had jeopardized the work of the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH), Hrvoj-Sipek said that he had not because he was given cases in which that was not possible.
She said that the freedom of association was guaranteed to every Croatian citizen but wondered what it meant to be a member of “an association whose membership is shrouded in secrecy.”
This inevitably raises the question of whether a person can be controlled and whether they are biased or objective, independent or not independent in their decisions. In this case, it is a matter of impression and public perception, she said, noting that what was allowed to other citizens was not allowed to a state prosecutor or judicial official.
Asked why the decision on Jelenic’s suspension was made ten months after she had taken office, Hrvoj-Sipek explained that one of the reasons was the fact that the Ethics Commission was asked to state its opinion on the case, while the other reason was her hospitalization due to Covid-19, which caused “a certain delay.”
She categorically dismissed claims that Jelenic was suspended for opposing her decision on the appointment of a deputy chief state prosecutor, saying that she had never discussed personnel issues with him.
Speaking about the leaking of information in investigations into the corruption cases dubbed Wind Park and JANAF, she stressed that information was not leaked by her office or the USKOK anti-corruption agency, confirming that prosecutorial authorities had indications as to who could have tipped off suspects who were under surveillance but did not have hard evidence that would lead to the launching of proceedings against the perpetrator.
USKOK head Vanja Marusic said that in the case regarding the sending of fake text messages there were indications as to who could be responsible for information leaks but that in that case, too, there was no hard evidence to prove it.
Speaking of political pressure against her office, Hrvoj-Sipek said that her office followed announcements, comments and statements.
“DORH and I feel public pressure because everyone expects us to do certain things. Some things we deal with and as for others, they cannot be resolved as quickly as citizens expect them to be resolved,” she said.
Speaking of threats received by some candidates in the recent local election, Hrvoj-Sipek said that prosecutorial authorities would launch proceedings if elements of criminal acts were found.
“There are no untouchables,” she said.
Asked about preliminary investigations into irregularities in the post-war reconstruction of houses in the region of Banija, Marusic said that those investigations were still under way.
Speaking of the case of former football manager Zdravko Mamic, who has been convicted in Croatia for corruption but who has fled to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Marusic said that “prosecutorial authorities” were still conducting preliminary investigations.
Speaking of the case of Mamic’s brother Zoran, who also recently fled to Bosnia and Herzegovina after being given a final verdict in the same corruption case in which his brother stood trial, she said that the conditions for requesting the court to impose precautionary measures to prevent his escape had not been met.