The Istraga.ba investigative journalism portal released an audio recording on Thursday which allegedly features the head of Bosnia’s top judicial institution, Milan Tegeltija, discussing the possibility of naming the sister of a former member of the institution to the post of judge in the Banja Luka Basic Court.
Tegeltija is the head of Bosnia’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), which appoints judicial officials in the country. According to Istraga.ba, the conversation featured in the recording was between him and former HJPC member Miljana Buha.
Buha allegedly insisted on the appointment of her sister, Sanja Cegar, to the post of judge in the Banja Luka court and Tegeltija can allegedly be heard saying that the “tactic” should be left to him.
However, Tegeltija told N1 that this recording proves the opposite of the allegations, that “everything is clean.”
He called the allegations “manipulations” and attempts to discredit him, which are coming investigative journalist Avdo Avdic.
He said that Avdic has constructed an affair by pulling his statements out of context and argued that the conversation was illegally acquired.
He also said that Cagar is currently an expert assistant at the District Commercial Court of Banja Luka and that talks between him an Buha about a possible conflict of interest in Cagar’s candidacy took place “about a year or two ago.”
Tegeltija said that he told Buha that if her sister was appointed judge it would represent a conflict of interest.
“As we can see, a year or two after these conversations, Sanja Cegar is still an expert assistant at the District Court in Banja Luka where she also worked when these conversations took place,” he argued.
Buha also told N1 that she never insisted on the appointment of her sister to the post of a judge and that Tegeltija never promised it to her.
She said that Avdic and Istraga.ba are falsely insinuating that she used her official position to influence the appointment of her sister, although Cegar is still serving the same post at the Banja Luka Commercial Court.
“She still did not apply nor was chosen for the post of a judge in any court,” Buha said of her sister, adding that it is only natural that she would want to apply for the post of judge.
“All my conversations with the president of the HJPC were exclusively on the problem of conflict of interest, the issue of her applying for the job considering that I am a being a member of the HJPC. The President of the HJPC has repeatedly told me that this is a problem from the perspective of conflict of interest and that it would mean my resignation from the position of a member of the HJPC,” she told N1.