Agricultural grants and subsidies (Lijanovići II)More results
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Abuse of official position or authority
- 2nd instance verdict
Description of the case
During his time as minister of agriculture of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jerko Ivanković-Lijanović allocated federal agriculture grants and subsidies to farmers on condition that they return half of the sum to a group headed by Ivanković-Lijanović and his four associates (see here, here and here).
Four members of the People's Party for Work and Betterment (NSRZB) – Mersed Šerifović (the party’s vice-president and the president of the party’s Cantonal Board in Tuzla), Edin Ajanović (former minister of agriculture, water management and forestry in the government of Tuzla Canton, and at that time minister for trade, tourism and transport in the same government) as well as Ivanković-Lijanović’s advisors Stipo Šakić and Suad Čamdžić – extorted the money from the farmers and split the funds between themselves and Ivanković-Lijanović. The total amount illegally acquired is estimated to be 652,000 KM (approximately €334,000) (see here and here).
Farmers who either refused to pay or stopped paying money were subsequently denied grants (see here). Ivanković-Lijanović also gave grants to firms connected to his family. Over three years, the ministry’s budget paid 2.7 million KM (more than €1.3 million) in export grants to the companies ZD.I. Produkt and Alpen – Mit (see here, here and here).
As the Center for Investigative Reporting revealed, officials from the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina alleged that members of Ivanković-Lijanović’s family set up these firms in order to evade paying value added tax and that they used these firms to continue their meat-processing business when the accounts of their previous company were frozen because of unpaid tax obligations. All of their companies worked at the same facilities of the Lijanovići Meat Industry, employed the same workforce and used the same equipment and goods (see here).
In a ruling on 16 January 2018, the Cantonal Court of Tuzla found all five defendants guilty. An appeal was lodged with the Supreme Court of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Federation of BiH), which confirmed the guilty verdict for Ivanković-Lijanović, but reduced his prison sentence. The verdict for Šakić remained unchanged. The other three defendants had already pleaded guilty.
Applicable corruption offence
Organising the commission of crimes (Article 340(1) of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina) in connection with the abuse of office/authority (Article 383(3)(1))
Other laws breached
Suspect’s institutional affiliation
At the time of the offence, Jerko Ivanković-Lijanović was minister of agriculture of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Stipo Šakić was his advisor and party colleague (see here).
Date of offending
From 2011 to 2014 (see here).
The case was heard before the Cantonal Court of Tuzla and Supreme Court of Federation of BiH.
Current stage of the case in criminal procedure
The Cantonal Court of Tuzla confirmed the indictment on 23 December 2015. The trial began in May 2016, and the first-instance judgement was delivered by the Cantonal Court in Tuzla on 16 January 2018. All five defendants were found guilty.
An appeal was lodged with the Supreme Court of FBiH. The court confirmed the guilty verdict for Ivanković-Lijanović, but reduced it from nine to seven years’ imprisonment in 2019. The verdict for Šakić remained unchanged. The other three defendants had already pleaded guilty (see here, here, here and here).
Resolution of the case
Applicable minimum and maximum penalty
- Minimum three years’ imprisonment for organising the commission of crimes (Article 340(1) of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
- Minimum three years’ imprisonment for abuse of authority/office (Article 383(3) of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Charges pressed by the prosecutor in the actual case
Organising the commission of crimes (Article 340(1) of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina) in connection with the abuse of office/authority (Article 383(3)(1)) (see here)
The Prosecutor's Office requested the extension of the temporary detention of the defendants in accordance with the Criminal Code and ordered the deprivation of the illicitly acquired money (see here).
The Supreme Court of Federation of BiH imposed the following sentences: Ivanković-Lijanović was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and ordered to return €333,802, which had been acquired illicitly. He was also prohibited from performing ministerial duties for two years. Stipo Šakić was sentenced to one year in prison and fined €9,200 (see here). Mersed Šerifović and Suad Čamdžić signed an agreement admitting their guilt and were sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. Edin Ajanović was sentenced to 1 year in prison after signing an agreement (see here).
Jerko Ivanković-Lijanović was invited to serve his prison sentence in January 2020, but requested a postponement (see here).
According to the Law on Execution of Criminal Sanctions in FBiH (Articles 23 and 24), once the judgement of the court becomes final and the latest within three days, the court with jurisdiction over the case must send an invitation to the accused to go voluntarily to prison. The accused must be given a minimum 8 and maximum 15 days to turn himself/herself in to the relevant prison facility.
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