Pro-government media, headed by the tabloid Kurir, are pointing their fingers at Jelisaveta Vasilic, member of the Anti-Corruption Council, claiming she is in a conflict of interest.
The whole thing comes after Vasilic did some research into the business operations of the Telekom Serbia. The tabloids are attacking Vasilic because her daughter is the author of a show on a TV station which is part of the United Group, Telekom’s rival.
Miroslav Milicevic, vice-chair of the Anti-Corruption Council told N1 that Vasilic is not in a conflict of interest because she is not a state official. Before the accusations in the tabloids, Vasilic wrote that Telekom Serbia was not abiding by the law in its business operations and she focused on the purchase of private cable operators. She based her findings on a report by the State Auditing Institution.
“The investments in the acquisitions were made without a decision by shareholders, with no control or oversight or a decision by ministries, the government and Public Sector Economy Board even though those were public funds totaling 38.29 billion Dinars (1 Euro – 118 Dinars) which is the value of the accquisitions by Telekom paid from public property into private pockets,” a piece in Danas daily said.
The reply came in the form of orchestrated stories in Kuris, Informer and Vecernje Novosti.
Former Supreme Court Judge Zoran Ivosevic said this is an attack on a member of the Anti-Corruption Council who has been pointing out the illegal dealings by Telekom Serbia since 2010, not for the moment that her daughter Dr Katarina Bajec started hosting a health show on Nova S TV.
“The private interests of herself and her daughter can be contrary. The daughter is an adult with her own family, she has more children so their private interests can’t be the same from the point of view of the law,” the judge said.
In the meantime, Vasilic finished her report on the Telekom but the Anti-Corruption Council did not adopt it.
“The fact that four members of the Council did not vote for the report is not at all impportant to me because I am not afraid of anything or anyone. I feel that my job in the Council is to fight for rule of law because the fight for rule of law is a fight against corruption, to protect public property which belongs to everyone,” Vasilic said.
Milicevic, the vice-chair of the Council, said that its not true that Vasilic’s report was rejected but that Council members had some remarks to make about the draft version and he added that he expects a vote on the report in August. “Jelisaveta Vasilic is in no conflict of interest. That is clear to everyone who knows the law and as one of the authors of the Law on the Anti-Corruption Agency which is still in force, I am telling you that there is no conflict of interest here because she is not a state official. The position of Council member is not a state post,” Milicevic said.
Former Council member Cedomir Cupic said that this is an attack on an expert in company law. “This is actually an attempt to discredit her as a person of exceptional professional integrity. She was an excellent judge and is one of the greatest experts on the Council. Everything that she has done to date has been done in a highly moral, conscientious and honorable way,” Cupic said.
Jelisaveta Vasilic was a judge for 30 years at the Higher Economic Court where she became known for refusing an appointment as court president and for pointing out crime in that court.