Journalists behind the 'Diploma' investigation: Prosecutors might target us

NEWS 10.01.2019 19:50
Source: N1

Two journalists who recently revealed a scandal concerning the sale of diplomas told N1 on Thursday that they were informed that prosecutors are now considering going after them.

An investigation by the ‘Zurnal’ team showed that only seventeen days and without spending any of them in class, reporter Azra Omerovic managed to obtain a state-verified secondary medical school diploma which said that her average grade during her studies, which usually last for four years, was ‘B’.

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The diploma said that she enrolled at the Sanski Most Secondary Medical School for Nurses in November 2016 and graduated in November 2018 after having passed exams in Anatomy and Physiology, Hygiene and Health Protection, Microbiology, Medical Psychology, Infective Diseases, Pathology, Surgery, Pharmacology and that she even attended practical class.

The team filmed the entire process from the moment when she asked how to obtain the diploma to the meeting at a local restaurant when an alleged mediator, Senad Pehlivanovic, came to hand it to her.

“I all started with a phone call, we got the number of Pehlivanovic, I called him, and we set up a meeting,” Omerovic told N1.

She told Pehlivanovic that she needs a diploma for working as a nurse in Germany.

“No problem,” the reporter quoted the mediator. “2,490 Marks and the diploma will be made, and the only problem is that I will have to wait some ten days for it,” she said, adding that she met with Pehlivanovic four times.

Her colleague Avdo Avdic alleged that it is well known that a diploma can be purchased in Bosnia, and that is the reason why the journalists wanted to uncover such a case.

“We have new facts. The school that issued the diploma, Multilingua from Sanski Most, has sent a note to the Government of the Una Sana Canton (USK) on January 7, requesting the diploma to be declared invalid for procedural reasons,” Avdic said.

The Canton authorities have not published the diploma in their Official Gazzette, Avdic said.

“With this, they have admitted that they have issued the diploma,” he said, adding that the school has with that also “admitted to a criminal act.”

The State Police has on September 21 last year submitted information about persons and institutions which sell diplomas, Avdic said.

“Bosnia’s Prosecutor’s Office has after 37 days decided to not conduct a probe. If they wanted to prove it, they could have done it better than we did, they have more resources,” the journalist said, alleging that “people who have obtained their own diplomas from such institutions work at Bosnia’s Prosecutor’s Office.”

Avdic also said that he came across information that he and Omerovic may be targeted by prosecutors.

“I received information that the State Prosecutor’s Office is considering the possibility of initiating an investigation against the two of us,” Avdic said. “If we are those who have to pay the price for this, we are ready.”