Defence Ministry owes Croatian company arms worth millions

NEWS 29.11.2018 20:26
Source: N1

Although Bosnia’s court ordered in December 2017 the Defence Ministry to deliver weapons worth 20 million BAM to a Croatian company per contract, Bosnia failed to do so until now, the company’s owner, Ivan Peranec, told N1 on Thursday.

The Defense Ministry lost a case after it was sued by Croatian company ‘Scout’ for failing to deliver weapons per a contract from 2003 and 2004.

According to the deal, Bosnia was to sell to the company its outdated and unusable arms, military equipment and ammunition.

After the deal was made, investigators launched a probe due to suspicious annexes that were added later.

Scout sued the Ministry and won the case in December last year, but because the weapons have not been delivered despite the court’s order, Sthe company submitted a criminal complaint against Defence Minister Marina Pendes for not implementing the ruling.

The company said the deal was made in 2003 and 2004, at a time when Bosnia had two defence ministries in two of its semi-autonomous regions. Those melted in 2005 into one state ministry, which inherited the problem.

Scout said that it had so far paid 10 million BAM for the weapons and that in the beginning, several shipments were made.

“Apart from the complaint, we are also going to use an enforcement order which was ruled in our favour,” said Peranec, adding that the weapons were stored in the facilities of Bosnia’s Armed forces at the time of the investigation.

He said he does not know where the weapons are now.

Bosnia’s Defence Minister Marina Pendes said in a written statement that the Ministry would implement the court decision as much as it can.

Bosnia’s state police, SIPA, confiscated the relevant documentation from the Defence Ministry.

Investigators allegedly found that an individual had changed essential parts of the contract in favour of the Croatian company, depriving Bosnia’s budget of six million BAM.

The dubious amendments to the initial contracts were made at the time when Selmo Cikotic was Minister.

He told N1 that he acted according to the law and decisions of Bosnia’s Presidency.

Bosnia’s Court expert Berko Zecevic told N1 that the initial contract signed between the Croatian company and the Ministry said that Scout was buying 62 rockets of a particular type but that later signed annexes raised that number to 20,000.

“This signalled to me that I have to dig deeper,” Zecevic told N1, adding that he knew Bosnia’s Armed Forces never had 20,000 rockets of that type and that it only had 62 destroyed, unusable ones.

In a later annexe, that number suddenly rose to 30,000 such rockets, “which was absolutely unbelievable as those rockets never existed in the storage,” the expert said.

The State Prosecutor’s Office did not tell N1 how far the years-long investigation got.