A former Bosnian minister and three others have been charged with abuse of power and corruption for illegally profiting from an EU-funded project, the prosecutor’s office in Sarajevo announced on Monday.
In a written statement from the Sarajevo Prosecutor’s Office, former Bosnia and Herzegovina Security Minister Dragan Mektic, the head of the cabinet, an assistant and a businessman were “involved in high-level corruption that damages the country’s international reputation”.
The alleged acts are linked to the implementation of an EU-funded project of 198,000 euros to facilitate cross-border cooperation in the fight against fires.
The four men are suspected of having fraudulently pocketed some 125,000 euros, through the purchase of equipment and the recruitment of companies and staff for the project. Dragan Mektic, in office from 2015 until the establishment of a new government in December 2019, told local press that these charges were politically motivated.
According to the statement, the prosecution plans to call 31 witnesses to the stand and present140 pieces of material evidence.
Since the end of the Bosnian war (1992-95), the country has been divided into two entities, one Serb and the other Croat-Bosnian, united by a central government, which is mainly in charge of foreign affairs, defence and finance. This complex and bloated system is accused of fostering corruption and embezzlement. Bosnia applied to join the EU in 2016 but is still awaiting candidate status due to necessary reforms often being blocked by political and community conflicts.