According to unofficial information published by broadcaster N1, Agriculture Minister Marija Vuckovic, State Secretary Tugomir Majdak and Deputy Head of Andrej Plenković’s Office Tena Misetic are among the 49 witnesses who will be examined by the police’s anti-corruption office (PN USKOK) in its investigation of the so-called “Wind Park” corruption case against the now-former state secretary in the public administration ministry, Josipa Rimac.
The government on Friday (29 May) dismissed Rimac, as well as Assistant Economy Minister Ana Mandac. The two were among several other officials and business people arrested earlier in the day as part of an investigation by USKOK on suspicion of committing white-collar crimes, including corruption, in connection with a project of wind farms near the town of Knin.
Among them is former Knin mayor Rimac, and Krunoslav Jakupcic, chairman of the Croatian Forests management board. An investigative judge of the Zagreb County Court has ordered one-month custody for Rimac and six other suspects.
Sources close to the investigation say that Rimac is suspected of influence peddling and receiving a bribe of €45,000 to favour the C.E.M.P. company, which built a wind park near Knin.
She is also suspected of exerting pressure on Hrvatske Sume (Croatian forests) to ensure it would not green-light the Krs-Padjane wind park, built by C.E.M.P.
USKOK believes that Hrvatske Sume CEO Jakupcic and Ivan Melvan from the company’s branch in Split were the ones who eventually approved the wind farm project in early 2020. On Friday (29 May), C.E.M.P. had issued a statement dismissing allegations of illegal conduct in the project, claiming it could prove the lawfulness of its actions with existing documentation on the project.
On the eve of the session of the HDZ Presidency and the National Council of the party on Monday (1 June), PM Andrej Plenkovic refused to comment on the Rimac case but said it will be ‘discussed about everything” at the session.
Earlier, on 29 May he said that nobody was above the law and that one had to put an end to corruption.
Asked by reporters if Rimac and the other suspects should have been expelled from the HDZ party, Environmental Protection and Energy Minister Tomislav Coric said the HDZ Presidency and the Court of Honor would say everything on the subject.
“It is not up to me to comment on this situation, considering that I do not know the details for the most part yet,” said Ćorić.
Shortly after taking office, Ćorić set aside the order which requested an additional study on the impact of the Krš-Pađena project on the ecological network. A decision was made in terms of respecting the highest environmental standards, he explained. (Karla Junicic, EURACTIV.hr)