Case analysis, reports and campaigns in the field of ethics and compliance

Sarajevo Tower: Sabina Sarajlija, the chief prosecutor

Korekt d.o.o.

21 December 2020

In the previous text about the “Sarajevo Tower” case we announced that we are going to publish how Mrs Sabina Sarajlija, the chief prosecutor of Sarajevo Canton acted regarding the information that Etika.ba gathered from a witness of the prosecution in the indictment represented by the prosecutor Sanin Bogunic, and from which arises that the prosecutor Bogunic leads a rigged case against the management of the “Smart Invest” – a co-investor in this project.

You can find a detailed testimony of the witness here: https://etika.ba/en/sarajevo-tower-key-witness-of-the-rigged-indictment

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We remind that Korekt doo, as a founder of the Etika.ba web page officially delivered its findings to Sabina Sarajlija on 29 October 2020.  Because of the public interest these findings were not published immediately. 

Since 45 days passed and the cantonal prosecutor has not taken any credible steps, Etika.ba decided to publish abovementioned findings and information, which are in the public interest, in order to prevent the possibility of covering them up, which has been done on 14 December 2020.

Up until the date of publishing this text, 53 days passed without any action by the Cantonal Prosecution Office of Sarajevo Canton.

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In the previous text we had announced that we are going to publish how Etika.ba found out, and concluded that Sabina Sarajlija has not taken any credible steps, which is going to be elaborated now.

The elaboration will be made in a way of a comparative analysis of the prosecution's efficiency in two cases:

1) A criminal charged of Euro-Profil commerce, a subcontractor of the facade works at Sarajevo Tower, based in which the prosecution arrested the management of the co-investor “Smart Invest” for allegedly taking a bribe; Etika.ba already published a series of texts: “Where is Juka's money?” that presented evidence that it was not a bribe in question but a debt of Euro-profil commerce, and you can read the texts here: https://etika.ba/en/sarajevo-tower-case-where-is-jukas-money.

2) Korekt doo and Etika.ba delivered findings and information that Euro-Profil filed false charges, and that the prosecutor Sanin Bogunic consciously covers up the truth and leads a rigged indictments against Smart Invest, to the chief prosecutor Sabina Sarajlija.

It is obvious that these two facts are contrary to each other and that they cannot co-exist because they mutualy exclude each other.  So one of the reports is false and other is true.

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A comparative analysis of the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Sarajevo Canton’s actions:

Actions of the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Sarajevo Canton and the prosecutor Sanin Bogunic regarding criminal charges of the Euro-Profil against Smart Invest

 

 04 June 2019 – Euro Profil commerce files the criminal charges to FPA, gets a status of a informant, after which the FPA notifies the prosecution.

After 6 days, on 10 June 2019 – By order of the prosecution FPA takes a statement from the representatives of Euro-Profil commerce and makes a record

After 9 days, on 13 June 2019 – The prosecution gets clearance from the Court to start investigative actions

After 10 days, on 14 June 2019 – The prosecution organizes first unsuccessful attempt of arresting

After 36 days, on 10 July 2019 – The prosecution manages to organize successful arrests of the Smart Invest representatives

Actions of Sabina Sarajlija regarding findings by Korekt doo and Etika.ba against Euro-Profil commerce and the prosecutor Sanin Bogunic

29 October 2020 – Korekt doo and Etika.ba hand over their findings to the chief prosecutor Sabina Sarajlija

After 6 days, on 04 November 2020 – The Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Sarajevo Canton does not contact representatives of Korekt and Etika.ba to give statements

After 9 days, on 07 November 2020 – The Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Sarajevo Canton still does not contact reporters to give statements

After 10 days, on 08 November 2020 – The Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Sarajevo Canton still does not contact reporters to give statements

After 36 days, on 04 December 2020 – The Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Sarajevo Canton still does not contact reporters to give statements

After 53 days, on 21 December 2020 – The Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Sarajevo Canton still does not contact Korekt doo and Etika.ba to give statement

 

It is obvious that the Prosecutor’s Office of Sarajevo Canton has the capacity to act quickly.  They needed only 10 days to perform all of the assessments, check ups, get permissions, warrants, organize people and technical equipment, start a wiretap, prepare marked banknotes and organize the first attempt of simulated handover of the money, and all of that because of the report by Euro-Profil.  It is important to remind that at the moment when the representative of Euro-Profil commerce got a status of the informant in FPA, and when the prosecutor Sanin Bogunic accepted him as credible, the informant in question was on probation lasting 2 years, which substituted the 11 month prison sentence, because the informant shot and wounded his business partner. 

It is obvious that the prosecution of Sarajevo Canton DOES NOT WANT to act on the report of Etika.ba.  We have already proven that the Prosecutor's Office of Sarajevo Canton has capacity to act quickly and this is not the case of non-capacity, but a conscious decision not to act on the report that does not suit them well.

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Analysis of the chief prosecutor Sabina Sarajlija’s inaction:

  • Mrs Sarajlija gets the findings. The report is signed with contact information of Etika.ba representatives who filed a report.  So the report is not anonymous, and the individuals signed on the report take full responsibility for everything stated. 
  • The information in question are very serious and they describe how the witness of the prosecution contacted representatives of Etika.ba and told them in what way the indictment is rigged and that the prosecutor Bogunic advised him not to tell the whole truth during the testimony.
  • If Sabina Sarajlija compared a criminal offence of the alleged bribe in the amount of 200,000BAM in a relatins between entrepreneurs with a criminal offence of the alleged indictment rigged by the prosecutor, she had to come to conclusion that the second, if true, is much more dangerous to the system and the society (the rigged indictment) than the first if it's true (alleged bribe).
  • By criterion of severity of a criminal offence, and especially because just one report is the true one, it arises without a doubt that the findings of a rigged indictment have to be checked at the same pace, if not quicker than the findings of an alleged bribe.
  • Mrs Sarajlija is the chief cantonal prosecutor, the chief of the institution and in charge of a reputation of this institution, and there is no bigger disgrace than if it proven that one of the prosecutors leads a rigged indictment. This question had to become an absolute priority to the chief prosecutor, because in her job nothing can be more important than preservation of integrity and legality of the actions of that institution.
  • It is not disputed that mrs Sarajlija had every right to doubt a veracity of the statements by the Etika.ba web page, and we support not believing everything you here or read immediately, but she had an obligation to as soon as possible invite the reporters to come to the Cantonal Prosecutor's Office and under threat of material and criminal liability for making a false statements question them. We remind that this step still would not mean that the investigation is open, but it would mean that the chief prosecutor wants to document a given report according to the law, and that she wants to make sure herself is the report false or true.  Then, after this step it is decided is the report going to be used as a basis for further investigation or opening the case.  Each and every step Sabina Sarajlija has taken was discreditable and suspicious.
  • Also, the Cantonal Prosecutor's Office should ask representatives of Etika.ba if they have any other evidence besides a paraphrased conversation with a witness, in order to gather more evidence for possible investigation. Considering that this question never happened, the Cantonal Prosecutor's Office did not get an answer if Etika.ba has more evidence or not. 
  • And we arrive to the first undeniable conclusion: Sabina Sarajlija has not taken any credible action to protect its institution from a possibility that one of the prosecutors leads a rigged indictment, and we conclude that from to the fact that she has not invited the reporters to the Cantonal Prosecutor's Office to give statements and present possible additional evidence.

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In that case, what she has done with the findings?

  • Option No. 1: Put the findings in a draw and told nobody about them! If she did that, she committed a criminal offence inaction in a situation when the law imposes an action;
  • Option No. 2: Notified her colleague Bogunic about inconvenient findings about him that arrived. If she did that, she committed even worse criminal offence than the first one because this way she enabled her colleague to find out about possible investigation about him, which must be kept secret.
  • Option No.3: Invited a witness in question and questioned him about information he presented to Etika.ba. This would be wrong
  • Option No.4: Forwarding the information to any other institution is wrong for many reasons, and the key reason being the fact that the chief of an institution represents a first line of defense of reputation of that institution, and only the chief has the authority to implement preventative measures, while all external institutions are usually slow and cannot insure a quick defense of the reputation, because the reporters have to be invited to give official statements and evidence. This procedure is logical because the prosecution has to question other individuals in order to gather as many evidence as possible to be as prepared as possible for the investigation.

 No matter which question is the right one, Sabina Sarajlija, the chief cantonal prosecutor, has not used the information adequately in order to protect her institution from the worse incrimination possible, and that is that its prosecutors work in the illegal manner.  The prosecution that works in the illegal manner does not have any credibility to charge anyone for anything, and the message sent to the public is devastating to the credibility of the judiciary.

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What is the reason for this kind of behavior of the chief cantonal prosecutor?

There are general-cultural reasons and personal reasons.

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Cultural reasons are:

  • A culture of non-resentment
  • Motto: “I love my position and benefits that come with it, but I avoid unpleasant situations”
  • A sick and twisted way of collegiality used in the Balkans to cover illegal actions of your colleagues (this kind of collegiality is a cancer of the domestic judiciary)
  • Folk wisdom: “Oh my concerns, go to someone else”
  • Corruption and personal interest above the public interest

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Personal reasons:

Sabina Sarajlija has been appointed for the chief cantonal prosecutor at the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council session on 29 May 2019.  It was Wednesday.  We shall assume that already on Thursday she was at work as the chief cantonal prosecutor.  Couple of days later FPA contacted the prosecution with the information that Elmedin Pinjic aka Hodza filed charges of a alleged bribe being asked from him.  That was on 04 June 2019.  How did happen that the prosecutor Bogunic kept working on the case, was that decided by a CMS system or he was even than the prosecutor in charge for the case, needs to be further investigated in order to assemble the entire puzzle.  Before Sabina Sarajlija, the chief prosecutor was Dalida Burzic, who had been appointed for a judge of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 14 February 2019.  In a meantime an acting chief prosecutor was Anika Keselj, between Dalida leaving and Sabina being appointed. 

The chronology of changes in the position of the chief prosecutor is being highlited for two reasons:

  1. It is a well-documented practice that the prosecutors ask for authorization of the chief prosecutor to start any serious investigations, although the question of the legal autonomy of an individual prosecutor is a extensive topic which will not be mentioned too much on this occasion.

In the previous texts we have already presented a chronology of events that show that Elmedin Pinjic aka Hodza started planning on filing criminal charges against Smart Invest right around 30 May 2019, what he in the end has done on 04 June 2019 (the FPA immediately informed the prosecution and the prosecutor Bogunic takes over the case).

This raise a question did Sabina Sarajlija, during the first few chaotic days of her appointment, authorized actions of Sanin Bogunic?  Did she have any knowledge of this?  Did she miss an opportunity to check and control this case, and does she feel responsibility that during her mandate possibility of a rigged indictment exists?

  1. Considering that Sanin Bogunic in the express manner acted on Elmedin Pinjic's report, and tried to arrest the representatives of Smart Invest on 14 June 2019, which was just one day after a judge in a previous case approved special investigative actions on 13 June 2019, points to a huge possibility that Sanin Bogunic has been familiarized with the case before Elmedin Pinjic filed a complaint on 04 June 2019. It was absolutely impossible to collect all the necessary and relevant documentation and get familiarized with a case containing hundreds of pages of contractual materials and documentation, and conclude what are the 200,000BAM from Pinjic's report, are they a debt or a bribe, while organizing all of the procedurals in order to make an arrest.

In favor to that also goes a statement from Asmir Dzevlan, the director of Ans Drive who in a testimony in the Court of Sarajevo said that he announced in a meeting with the first facade worker, Jusuf Muhic Juka, hold in Previla in Ilidza in January of 2019, that he is going to file criminal charges against Smart Invest regarding settlement of Juka's 200,000BAM.  From that statement arises that Ans Drive filed criminal charges to the Cantonal Prosecutor's Office of Sarajevo Canton in Januaru of 2019, when Dalida Burzic was the chief prosecutor.  There is a question did Dalilda Burzic approve this investigation?

If criminal charges were filed after 14 February 2019 when Burzic was appointed for a judge of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the question is did acting chief prosecutor Anika Keselj approve the investigation?

All in all, Sabina Sarajlija cannot find excuses in her predecessors, because even if they left to her to deal with a “hot potato”, the fact is that the indictment in question happened during her mandate, and that she is 53 days late to defend her institution from a possibility that a rigged indictment exists.

The crucial question was the prosecutor Bogunic preparing the indictment in the Sarajevo Tower case before Elmedin Pinjic aka Hodza filed criminal charges to FPA on 04 June 2019 and who already had knowledge of this case?

 To be continued…

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Etika.ba is a portal intended for the professional public that is interested in higher standards of ethics and compliance with regulations in the business sector, systematic and objective monitoring of judicial, administrative and other proceedings in order to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all actors in the BiH market. We bring to the public space analysis of specific cases with a special focus on compliance with ethical standards in the performance of public duty, thus contributing to the fulfillment of the mission of Etika.ba

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