The Government of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity decided to remove Branislav Zeljkovic from the post of RS Public Health Institute Director while he is in pre-trial detention over allegations of corruption related to public procurement during the pandemic.
The Banja Luka District Court rejected the complaints from the lawyers of Zeljkovic, as well as two others accused in the case, Sasa Markovic and Dragan Dubravac, and all three will remain in custody.
According to prosecutors, Slavko Bojic and Dragan Dubravac signed an agreement to form a consortium for the import of protective equipment and medical masks to the Institute of Public Health RS in order to act as a group of bidders since Bojic’s company ‘Procontrol’ is not registered for the job.
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 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 allegedly sold the masks to the institution at severely inflated prices. 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.
Prosecutors allege 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, allegedly 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.