Officer temporary suspended in judicial corruption probe

NEWS 29.05.2019 18:04
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Source: SIPA

The State Police Director has on Wednesday temporarily suspended an officer pending an investigation into his participation in an alleged corruption affair involving the head of Bosnia’s top judicial institution.

State Protection and Investigation Agency (SIPA) officer Marko Pandza is one of the three people featured in a secretly recorded video which has shaken the judiciary in Bosnia and Herzegovina to its core.

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He is now being investigated for gravely breaching his official duty, abusing his position and damaging the reputation of the Agency.

The allegations, which resulted in a mass protest in front of Bosnia’s judicial institutions on Wednesday, were first published by local investigative news portal ‘Zurnal’. The online magazine wrote that the head of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), Milan Tegeltija, took a bribe in return for speeding up a case at a local court.

The HJPC is the body overseeing the work of Bosnia’s judiciary which appoints judges and prosecutors.

The money was allegedly handed to Pandza who acted as a middleman.

Tegeltija adamantly denied any wrongdoing and the HJPC publicly expressed support for him, while prosecutors formed a case to investigate the accusations.

Zurnal then published a secretly recorded video of a meeting between Tegeltija, Pandza and businessman Nermin Alesevic.

It appears to be showing Alesevic handing the money to Pandza but does not contain footage of Tegeltija taking it over. Tegeltija cannot be heard asking for any money directly.

After the video was published, Tegeltija told N1 that the footage actually proves his innocence.

But Alesevic told N1 that he recorded the video, that it proves wrongdoing by Tegeltija and that he asked for immunity in any potential proceedings that may arise from the alleged affair.

Hundreds turned up in front of the HJCP on Wednesday demanding Tegeltija’s resignation.

In a statement for N1, Alesevic thanked the citizens who came to support him.

“What I did was self-defence from the judicial mafia in Bosnia and Herzegovina, they made me do it. There was no other way out. There is no institution in Bosnia that I have not contacted,” he said.