Having landed at the Nikola Tesla Airport on a flight from Vienna, on July 15 this year, a passenger headed toward the exit with the sign NOTHING TO DECLARE. Passengers carrying goods not subject to customs duties pass through this exit every day. However, this passenger did not have the usual luggage with him. Customs officers discovered in his possession a painting called The Sentinel, by Paja Jovanović, bought for more than 140,000 euros, along with over 15,000 euros in cash. Although the media reported on this person as a mystery passenger, CINS reveals that the passenger in question is a Belgrade city administration secretary, Nikola Kovačević.
Newsmax Adria journalist Jelena Obućina is the winner of this year’s Stanislav Staša Marinković Award, given out by the Danas daily. CINS journalist Jovana Tomić was
shortlisted for the award, while the entire staff was lauded for its investigative stories.
Illegal construction in a protected area, cutting of floodplain forests on the banks of the Tisa and air pollution in Beočin – those are the topics of the three award-winning stories by participants in the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS) school, created as part of cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Government of Sweden.
Telekom Srbija paid Igor Mirović, the head of the Vojvodina government and member of the Serbian Progressive Party leadership, at least 192,000 euros for leasing office space in downtown Novi Sad, almost a third of it before the office was even opened. A prosecutor’s office conducted a long preliminary investigation on suspicion of illegality of the whole affair. CINS reveals problems in the procedure, as well as that in the process of leasing the space Telekom bypassed public procurement procedure.
The Žitište municipal administration last year awarded a student transportation job worth 3.7 million dinars to Serbian Progressive Party alderman Dragan Rapaić. That public procurement was added to the plan the same day it was announced, while Rapaić’s company Eko Line 2020 was founded less than two months before that. Anti-Corruption Agency representatives say that this is a conflict of interest and say they will launch procedure against Rapaić and the Žitište municipal heads.
Criminal charges for threats to CINS Editor-in-Chief Milica Šarić on Twitter have been filed with the Special Prosecutor’s Office for High-Tech Crime via the Working Group for the Safety of Journalists. Charges have also been filed with the same Prosecutor’s Office for threats to the CINS office on Facebook.
By changing the way in which it shows political parties’ presence in the media during an election campaign, the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Media has created an image where the Serbian Progressive Party and the Alliance for Serbia were represented in a similar measure. The body included various kinds of media and actors in the total election campaign time, which it had not done before, and so instead of the Serbian Progressive Party getting tenfold more time than the Alliance for Serbia, it allegedly got only slightly more.
The National Health Insurance Fund of the Republic of Serbia in July concluded agreements with the Second Cycle company worth roughly 58 million dinars (without VAT) for the procurement of coronavirus tests and reagents. This company, which has in the past engaged in the sale of egg production boosters, got a new owner this past March – former Socialist Party of Serbia alderwoman in Mionica, Dragana Zeman. We were unable to learn more about this deal and the company from either the Health Insurance Fund or the former and current company owners. They were not at the address where the company was registered during the making of the deal, and they changed the address only after CINS journalists went to visit it.
The numerous reactions to CINS’ database about MPs costs and one denial speak only of one thing – that we have to call on officials to be transparent and responsible more often and in greater numbers.
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