News 29 Dec 11

Corruption Probe Dropped Against Bosnian Serb Leader

A corruption investigation into the activities of Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has been dropped by prosecutors, who cited a lack of evidence.

Elvira Jukic

The special prosecutor's office of Republika Srpska, one of Bosnia's two entities, cancelled a corruption and abuse of office investigation into Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska, RS, and leader of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, and several other high-ranking officials from the entity.

Prosecutors said in a statement on Wednesday that there was not enough evidence to prove allegations of corruption in the construction of buildings for the entity government and its public radio-television, RTRS, work on a portion of highway and a few other cases.

Along with Dodik, the investigation included Mladen Lazendic, director of the public company “RS Roads”, Nedeljko Cubrilovic, current minister of transport and communications of RS, Aleksandar Dzombic, the current prime minister of RS, Dragan Davidovic, the director of RTRS, Fatima Fatibegovic, former minister of planning, construction and environment, and her associate Milenko Dakic.

In the criminal charges filed against the RS officials in February 2009, the State Investigative and Protection Agency, SIPA, claimed that the state and entity budgets suffered losses of some €60 million as a result of the alleged corruption.

The state prosecutor's office transferred the case to the entity prosecutor in June 2011.

On Wednesday, Dodik reacted to the news that the probe had been dropped, calling the investigation a "set up" and insisting that those who launched it would have to take responsibility for their decision.

"Milorad Dodik, even though some expect me to say it, will not forget,” the Bosnian Serb leader said at a press conference held on Wednesday following the appointment of a new state government almost 15 months after general elections in Bosnia.

He told journalists in Sarajevo that the investigations against him are a "set up", claiming that the probes are influenced by foreign factors that hope to hamper his political party from winning elections.

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