WEALTH AT THE EXPENSE OF CITIZENS:Family Companies Linked to the Authorities of Republika Srpska Receive Billions from Budget

Žurnal in English

WEALTH AT THE EXPENSE OF CITIZENS: Family Companies Linked to the Authorities of Republika Srpska Receive Billions from Budget

While Republika Srpska continues to borrow hundreds of millions of KM day by day, the political leadership of SNSD (Alliance of Independent Social Democrats) in the entity has not disclosed to the citizens how they have been extracting money from the budget for years through closely connected private companies. Through tenders and direct agreements, they have secured sums ranging from several hundred million to several billion marks in their accounts.

Family Companies Linked to the Authorities of Republika Srpska Receive Billions from Budget
Milorad Dodik, President of Republika Srpska (Photo: President of RS)

While calling on supporters to gather in front of the Prosecutor's Office and Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina for "peaceful" protests under the banner of "Srpska pred sudom" (Republika Srpska in front of the court), and suggesting that they block the inter-entity line because the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Sarajevo Canton has banned gatherings, Republika Srpska continues to borrow relentlessly day by day. However, the political leadership of the SNSD (Alliance of Independent Social Democrats) in the entity has not disclosed to the citizens how they have been extracting money from the budget for years through closely connected private companies. Through tenders and direct agreements, they have secured sums ranging from several hundred million to several billion marks in their accounts.

Certainly, the most well-known among them is the company "Prointer". According to the admission of the President of Republika Srpska and leader of the ruling SNSD, Milorad Dodik, his son Igor is a collaborator in this company.

"He is not the owner or an authorized person, but he collaborates with this company and earns income from it", he confessed on July 18, 2019, in front of the members of parliament.

Due to unexplained, multi-millions worth of public contracts, the partnership with the global company IBM was terminated in the same year, and after the expansion of American sanctions against Dodik on January 5 of the previous year, Microsoft followed the same path, and then the German SAP. However, this did not prevent "Prointer" from continuing with tender-related, albeit slightly modified, operations. Even the President of Republika Srpska got involved in saving the business and, without determining any potential conflict of interest, awarded two contracts worth 255,043 KM.

According to data from the Public Procurement Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the eight-year operation of the company has cost citizens an incredible 294,659,778 KM including VAT. All of this was carried out through 975 contracts signed with institutions, public companies, and institutions.

Another successful tender company closely connected to the Dodik family is "Sirius 2010", which operates in the lucrative IT sector.

"'Sirius 2010' is the founder of 'Zekstra' Banja Luka, one of the two largest shareholders of 'Boska,' whose privatization was signed in 2008 by then-Prime Minister of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik and the owners of the companies 'Zekstra' and 'Delta' from Belgrade, Dragan Đurić and Miroslav Mišković", as recently reminded by Capital.

In the latest controversy surrounding a department store in the centre of Banja Luka, ownership of the store was taken over by the company "Kaboss pro" from Belgrade, owned by Đorđe Đurić, the owner of the "Infinity International Group". "Prointer" is part of this group.

"Sirius" came into the spotlight after being awarded a contract worth over 10 million KM for an integrated SAP system by the Tax Administration of Republika Srpska in 2017. At that time, the company didn't even have its own website. According to official data, they have 181 contracts with the public sector, totalling 24,790,510 KM.

The "energy partner" of "Prointer" is the company "Dwelt", owned by Stefan Krnet, the son-in-law of the former SNSD (Alliance of Independent Social Democrats) Minister of Health and current dean of the Medical Faculty in Banja Luka, Ranko Škrbić. Citizens have paid 32,104,525 KM for their 35 contracts with the public sector. On the other hand, Škrbić's friends and godparents continue to reap millions of KM worth of benefits from the healthcare system, through construction works, as well as the sale of medical equipment and drugs.

Somewhat sidelined due to the success of "Prointer", but always in the game, is "Lanaco", owned by one of the founders of SNSD (Alliance of Independent Social Democrats), Nebojša Ninić. Years of business with institutions, organizations, and public enterprises have secured them 1,533 contracts worth 215,478,516 KM.

The Dodik family in Republika Srpska earns a substantial income. Last year, their companies generated more than 10 million KM. Additionally, they are not left out of budget incentives for agricultural production.

"The company 'Fruit eco,' owned by Igor Dodik and Mirko Dobrić, received the most money, totalling 182,594 KM. This company received 68,778 KM from the Compensation Fund, based on a premium for produced and sold fruit, while it received 113,816 KM from the agrarian budget, including 10,500 KM for long-term plantings, 100,000 KM for sold and produced fruit, and around 3,000 KM for subsidized fuel. The company 'Agro voće,' owned by Gorica Dodik, daughter of Milorad Dodik, qualified for incentives totalling 102,021 KM, including 22,075 KM from the Compensation Fund and around 80,000 KM from the agrarian budget. The company 'Global Liberty,' owned by Gorica and Igor Dodik, also benefited from incentives, and according to APIF (Agency for Agricultural Payments, Insurance, and Rural Development), the director of this company is Pavle Ćorović, Gorica's husband. 'Global liberty' received incentives amounting to 26,889 KM, including 25,195 KM from the agrarian budget and 1,694 KM from the Compensation Fund", as reported by Capital.

Within the family circle, the businesses of Vice Zeljković, the president of the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Dodik's cousin, also thrive. These businesses regularly sponsor the Football Club Borac. The advisor to Milorad Dodik, Milan Tegeltija, leads Borac. Žurnal has extensively covered his activities.




Slobodan Stanković, the owner of the "Integral Engineering" empire, was extremely close to the Dodik family and also ended up on the U.S. blacklist. At the end of last year, Žurnal investigated:

"Slobodan Stanković! 'Integral inženjering'! 15 years! 1,865,784,040 KM! This is just the amount that tycoon Slobodan Stanković received for contracts with the public sector in Republika Srpska. If we add to this the construction of highways through Serbia, financed by the citizens of Serbia, as well as the operations of other companies of the Stanković family, such as 'Integra inženjering,' owned by his wife Slavica, or the 'Institut za građevinarstvo,' the figure rises to over two billion KM".

Mile Radišić, a tycoon convicted of a crime and extremely close to Dodik, is in control of finances. Last year, his company "Grand Trade" made a profit of 1,817,086 KM. This year, the revenue could be even more significant because it is increasingly likely that the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina, headed by SNSD's Zoran Tegeltija, will sell a building worth around 70 million KM. The Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina has already approved this amount.

Even the family of Željka Cvijanović, a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Serbian people, is not immune to business. The company "Prim", led by her husband Aleksandar and son Stefan, showed a profit of 872,882 KM last year. The revenue for "ordinary" citizens is, of course, unattainable - 3,826,467 KM.

Their trucks were regulars at the construction site of the tennis complex for the "Srpska Open" tournament. 53 million KM was spent on building this structure without a tender and the necessary permits. None of the responsible authorities have explained exactly how such a large amount was spent.

Tenders for the Olympic Center Jahorina, a glamorous winter resort for the political elite and their families, do not stop in the summer. Millions of KM from citizens ended up in the walls of the "Rajska Dolina" hotel and the ski slopes. Conflicts of interest are not considered, so the President of the Supervisory Board, Nedeljko Elek, regularly employs his family company. "Nedomex logistika", owned by Jovana Vukadin, the sister-in-law of Milenko Elek, who is closely related to Nedeljko Elek, received a million-dollar contract for the purchase of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for the needs of the Olympic Center. A similar, but cheaper situation for citizens, was reported at the end of 2021 by the "PratimoTendere" portal. Back then, "Nedomex" provided coffee and drinks for skiers at a cost of 466,821 KM to the citizens as the sole bidder. These are certainly not the only contracts and the only company close to the government that is draining Jahorina's budget.




Until recently, the main vehicle supplier was Đorđa Kojić, the owner of "Brčko Gas" and one of the founders of SNSD. He supplied the Presidential Service, ministries, and companies. An example of how party loyalty is not forgotten was very visible in 2021. Žurnal investigated again:

"In the last three years, the RS government has spent almost one and a half million marks on maintaining the fleet and buying new cars. The dependence on expensive vehicles is paid for by the citizens, and 'Brčko Gas' is the main dealer".

Kojić's offers were irresistible even to ministers in the government formally led by premiers but effectively by Milorad Dodik. Ultimately, 924 contracts worth 22,617,734 KM were recorded...

The business operations of family-owned companies close to the government at the local level are illustrated by Pale, for example. The families of Jugović and Stanišić have been managing the municipality's public funds for years. Besides their business interests, they are also connected by family ties, as the son of the SNSD mayor of the municipality, Boško Jugović, is married to the daughter of the DEMOS Member of Parliament and the director of Elektrodistribucija Pale, Ace Stanišić. The Stanišić family owns "Stanišić d.o.o", a company that has turned this place into its own construction site. Additionally, they are one of the main suppliers to the municipality. They have 84 tender contracts totaling 3,509,975 KM with VAT.

The director of the company is Njegoš Poljaković, who was a candidate for councillor for the Municipal Assembly of Pale on the SNSD list.

DEMOS, which is in a coalition with SNSD and whose Aco is part of, manages the Paljanka companies "Vodovod i kanalizacija" and "Toplana". The "Stanišić" company is their regular supplier. The number and value of contracts are constantly increasing.

Besides his business activities, Mayor Jugović has shown what power looks like in practice without consequences. He appointed his nephew, Arsen's son Gojko Jugović, to the position of Head of the Department for Spatial Planning and Housing-Utility Affairs...

While Republika Srpska is losing its working-age population every day and borrowing millions on the stock exchanges, those who unquestionably serve the top continue to rule the budgets. The family of the former SNSD President of the Banja Luka Assembly and current Member of Parliament, Mladen Ilić, operates through "Eko-euro tim" with their former bitter opponent, PDP Mayor Draško Stanivuković, but also with institutions and companies managed by SNSD cadres. 122 contracts - 52,263,446 KM!

This is just the tip of the iceberg of family-owned companies that have taken advantage of the citizens. While this remains silent, Milorad Dodik equates himself with Republika Srpska and sends a message to journalists "over whom he has no control":

"One day, you will have to be ashamed to walk through Republika Srpska, not because that's how Milorad Dodik thinks, but because you are undermining the common value for which people have died and are fighting. I wouldn't like to meet you at this time. Republika Srpska is a small community, and to draw attention to the harassment of Americans and your media, we have to shout and make noise because you are enemies of the Serbian people".