When the assembly of the non-governmental organization “Agencija za saradnju, edukaciju i razvoj” (translation: Agency for Cooperation, Education and Development) from Banja Luka, in May 2020, determined that the then executive director Duško Vučić, by abusing his position and exceeding his authority, damaged that non-governmental organization for more than 385,000 KM, the agony began for individual members of that association.
Duško Vučić himself was relieved of his duties as the executive director at the extraordinary session of the Association in June of the same year, and at the same time, he was expelled from the membership of the Association. Due to a serious violation of work discipline, his employment contract was terminated.
Based on the collected evidence, the Assembly of the Association filed a criminal complaint against the dismissed director in July 2020. The report was later amended due to the suspicion that the dismissed director manipulated his position in the Association, falsifying documents and falsely presenting himself. When Vučić was already dismissed and relieved of his duties in the Association at an extraordinary session in June 2020, he convened his own assembly of the Association in August, by which he returned to head the Agency. Instead of the handing over of the criminal report marking the beginning of the investigation of serious allegations of serious crimes, this marked the beginning of sabotaging the investigation, delaying, manipulating and falsifying documents. Here, the story goes beyond the conflict within a non-governmental organization and suspicions of alienation of donor European funds and becomes a story about potential corruption among judges and prosecutors in the Basic Court of Banja Luka and the District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Banja Luka.
Car, apartments, renovation of private houses
“Agencija za saradnju, edukaciju i razvoj” is a non-governmental, non-profit organization from Banja Luka that has existed for fifteen years. It implements sustainable development projects, including economic and social development, environmental protection as well as humanitarian projects. More precisely, that Agency dealt with these topics until the Assembly of the Association revealed that the first man of the Agency used money from European funds for private purposes.
“Agencija za saradnju, edukaciju i razvoj” determined through an internal investigation that the Executive Director bought a Škoda Kodiak vehicle with the Agency’s money, which he registered with the Agency but did not report the purchase. Until the discovery of that purchase and later seizure by the police, the executive director Vučić used the vehicle for personal needs. Through internal investigation and review of documentation, the members of the Association determined that with the money of the Agency for Cooperation, Education and Development, the dismissed executive director bought an apartment in Belgrade and renovated a family house in Banja Luka. It was also determined that he spent the card owned by the Association for personal needs, during his vacations in Greece. In total, about 40,000 KM of the Association’s money were spent from the card, and the members of the Association, for Guerrilla Info, say that it is interesting, as Vučić admitted at the Association’s assembly, that the Task Manager of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vlado Pandurevic, was a frequent guest of the Executive Director during the “ironing” of the official card. Most of the Agency’s projects are funded by the European Union Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Zoran Mićić, President of the Assembly of the Agency for Cooperation, Education and Development at the time when it was discovered that the director spends the agency’s money as his own, told Guerrilla Info, that he and some other members of the Association immediately reported everything to the competent institutions. He explains, however, that they hit the wall because the Basic Court in Banja Luka persistently meets the dismissed director and his lawyer Dragan Stupar, accepting the fake assembly of the Association, which returned Vučić to the position of executive director, as valid. The Basic Court in Banja Luka has been doing this persistently for two years, although the District Court in Banja Luka has on several occasions accepted the appeal against the decisions of the Basic Court and returned the case to the Basic Court. Due to all that, a criminal report was submitted to the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Republika Srpska, for all irregularities.
Based on the criminal report submitted to the District Public Prosecutor’s Office on the order of the pre-trial judge, in August 2020, members of the Department for Suppression of Economic Crime of the Banja Luka Police Administration seized complete program and financial documentation as well as computers from the Association with the aim of preventing the destruction of evidence and conducting expertise in the investigative procedure, which was requested by the Assembly of the Association. Unfortunately, although the police submitted a report to the Prosecutor’s Office in December 2020 on the existence of a well-founded suspicion that the criminal offence of abuse of office and authority was committed, since then, despite numerous interventions, the Banja Luka Public Prosecutor’s Office has not taken any action. This prevented the Association from working, fifteen people were left without income, another twenty-five without fees and twenty students without scholarships “, Zoran Mićić told Gerila.info.
The Basic Court is procrastinating, the District Prosecutor’s Office is not conducting an investigation?
Mićić also says that the OJT Banja Luka left space and time to the dismissed executive director to, by falsifying documents and forming a new fictitious assembly chaired by his lawyer Dragan Stupar, get a decision four times at the Basic Court in Banja Luka, authorizing him to represent the Association. Mićić says that the Basic Court issued several documents to Vučić’s lawyer in one day, which cannot be obtained in one day, but a certain period must pass from each issuance.
Although the President of the Court Milenko Milekić and the Secretary of the Court Vladimir Jurišić were informed about all irregularities in the work of the Basic Court, it happens that the President of the Civil Division, Judge Biljana Vučetić, three times issues a decision in non-litigation procedure annulling the decision of the president of the non-litigation department and in November 2021 on the basis of falsified documents again issues the same decision which the District Court has twice revoked and declared illegal”, explains Mićić for Gerila.info.
Guerilla’s questions about what has been done so far in the mentioned investigation on the basis of criminal charges, as well as what has been done on reports of corruption in the Prosecutor’s Office due to this case, are not answered specifically by the Prosecutor’s Office. They state that they do not understand which dismissed director is in question. Questions about corruption in the OJT were ignored.
Due to everything, on December 22 last year, the members of the Association submitted the criminal report to the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Republika Srpska.
We asked the Basic Court why the procedure regarding the change of registration of persons for representation takes years, why the judge constantly makes the same decisions, despite the rejection of such decisions in the District Court as illegal. They respond from this court that they cannot provide more information until the appeal procedure is completed.
“For these reasons, we cannot provide information or comment on the course of the proceedings until the Banja Luka District Court decides on this legal matter, and this court will then respect the legal reasons expressed in the second instance verdict,” the Banja Luka Basic Court said in a response.
The Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Republika Srpska confirmed, for Gerila.info, that the aforementioned criminal charges are pending with the acting prosecutor “who will check the allegations of the filed charges in the next period”.
Due to the fact that the Basic Court meets the dismissed director and his lawyer in different ways and ignores the second instance decisions of the District Court against the judges of the Banja Luka Basic Court, a number of ACED employees filed a complaint with the Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor at the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Subsequent inspection of the business documentation of the Agency for Cooperation, Education and Development established that the dismissed executive director damaged the Fund of the President of the Republic by about 150,000 KM, bringing the total embezzlement to half a million KM.
Namely, the Agency received from the Fund of the President of the Republic the project “Building infrastructure for the needs of children with asthma – Project Educational tourism in nature – tourism development potential of the Republika Srpska” worth 70,000 KM. It was later determined that another project worth 80,000 KM was approved, which was not known to other ACED members.
Expensive furniture and equipment instead of the Center for Sick Children
An infrastructure project in nature for children with asthma was supposed to be built in Mlinska Rijeka near Čelinac within the Prima prom tourist complex, but that never happened. Guerrilla info is in possession of extensive documentation and invoices that show that the Agency, through a project obtained from the President of the Republic, bought construction materials, luxury furniture, laptops and computer equipment. Part of the money was spent on the company Prima prom.
Zoran Mićić, who was elected the new director of the Association by the decision of the ACED Assembly, informed the Cabinet of the President of Republika Srpska and Đuka Huremović, Secretary General of the Office of the President of Republika Srpska, about the misuse of funds from the project of the President of the Republic. The Cabinet of the President of RS was informed that 70,000 KM were spent inappropriately and that the engagement of members of the Association prevented the misuse of another 80,000 KM, which was captured on the Association’s account by the quick reaction. There was no reaction from the cabinet of the President of Republika Srpska. The office of the President of the Republic did not answer Guerrilla Info’s questions regarding this project, which they financed.
Gerila.info is in possession of an excerpt from the Association’s account, which shows that the dismissed director paid 20,000 and 23,200 KM to his own private account on two occasions, on February 19 and 20, 2020. He also used the account of the Association to pay a deposit to a bank for a private housing loan, on April 21, 2020. A total of 30,500 KM.
The new management of the Agency for Cooperation, Education and Development (the procedure for proving the right to enrol and represent is still ongoing at the Basic Court) also informed the European Union Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina about embezzlement and misappropriation of European funds intended for projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Not only was the EU delegation informed, but also the Special Representative of the European Union and the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to BiH, Johan Satler. No response or reaction was noticed.
Zoran Mićić also reported to the EU delegation in BiH life threats by some employees of the European Union Delegation. Criminal charges were also filed against Mićić by the lawyer of the dismissed director of the Association Duško Vučić, Dragan Stupar.
Duško Vučić’s lawyer, Dragan Stupar, told the Gerila.info journalist that he could not talk about the details of the case, but claimed that in the case of a criminal report against his client, it could not be a crime, as internal audits showed. He denies that criminal charges have been filed against him, and says that Zoran Mićić included a lot of people in the criminal charges. He also claims that it was finally confirmed in court that Vučić is the legal director of the Association.
Duško Vučić, for Gerila.info, notes that all the allegations from the question we sent him regarding the misuse of the funds of the Agency headed by him were incorrect. He also claims that various controls showed that this was not the case. He also claims that the party that reported him for illegal actions illegally took control of the association. He states that he sued Mićić and some media outlets due to earlier allegations in the media. In the answer for Gerila.info, Vučić questions the moral credibility of his former colleagues from ACED.
“In 13 years of operation, ACED has been entrusted with 82 contracts / projects. As far as I can estimate, this is an extremely high number – not only for BiH, but also for the region. If there was a suspicion of one donor going into the work of ACED and into all the financial and program reports that have passed countless controls, I am sure that ACED would not have received so much trust from institutions that base their work on trust. And if ACED had not been so successful in its work, it would not have had significantly more than 1 million KM in business accounts in May 2020. But I also think that there would be no attempt at a hostile takeover, as was the case in June 2020 by organizing an illegal session of the Assembly with illegitimate members by Zoran Mićić “, writes, among other things, Duško Vučić’s answer for Gerila.info.
However, Gerila.info is in possession of the record from the ACEDA assembly from June 2020, where Vučić, after asking some members of the assembly about the misuse of funds, admitted that he spent the association’s funds for personal needs, disputing only the amount of money spent.