Companies allegedly sold med equipment to RS entity PHI at inflated prices

NEWS 17.09.2021 15:07
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Source: N1

Prosecutors in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity believe that the head of the RS Public Health Institute, Branislav Zeljkovic, signed contracts that allowed unqualified companies to procure medical equipment and sell it to the institution at inflated prices.

Zeljkovic was detained on Thursday and the Banja Luka District Court is to decide whether he will remain in custody.

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The official is accused alongside the director of ‘Procontrol’, Slavko Bojic, ‘Promeding’, Dragan Dubravac and ‘Travel 4 Fun’, Sasa Markovic.

According to prosecutors, Slavko Bojic and Dragan Dubravac signed an agreement forming a consortium for the import of protective equipment and medical masks to the Institute of Public Health RS, “aware that the legal entity ‘Procontrol’ is not registered for medical equipment in the register of wholesalers of medical supplies,” in order to benefit the unqualified company by acting as a group of bidders.

Zeljkovic allegedly abused his position to benefit the company “to the detriment of RS budget funds” by using the emergency situation in the entity to conduct a public procurement procedure through a negotiated procedure without a procurement notice.
The procedure involved the procurement of 50,000 pieces of medical respiratory masks FFP2 with an estimated value of 345,000 Bosnian Marks without VAT.

Procontrol sold the masks to the institution at severely inflated prices and in order to cover it up, they invoiced twice, prosecutors allege, adding that the company also submitted a certificate that does not confirm that it is medical, but personal protective equipment.

The true value of the masks was 0.36 BAM per piece, while they were sold to the Institute for 6.90 BAM, prosecutors said, adding that despite that, Zeljkovic signed a contract.

Zeljkovic is also charged with abusing his official position to benefit the company ‘Travel 4 Fun’ by accepting an offer to purchase medical protective suits, face masks and 500 professional non-contact digital thermometers. The total value is 2,388,500 BAM without VAT.

It is stated that Zeljkovic did not supervise or check the order and instead of medical suits, he received non-medical suits without the appropriate medical declaration, certificates and standards. Furthermore, the suits were not from China but were produced in BiH, although the offer stated otherwise. Prosecutors said that prices were also inflated in this case and Travel 4 Fun benefitted in the amount of 550,000 BAM to the detriment of the RS budget.

Zeljkovic denied wrongdoing and said he acted in accordance with the law.

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