On 25 May 2022, the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) in Zagreb filed an indictment against 10 Croatian citizens, including the mayors of Nova Gradiška and Velika Gorica, for active and passive corruption and abuse of function.
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Today, the County Court in Zagreb issued the verdict against three of the accused, who were all found guilty of illegal favouritism and attempt of abuse of function.
The three were accused of manipulating procurement procedures in order to secure the assignment of construction projects, including a solar power plant and a wastewater treatment facility.
The projects had a total value of €22.6 million (HRK 169.9 million) and were all co-financed by the European Union Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. The damage to the EU budget was largely prevented thanks to the efficacy of the investigators.
One of the accused was managing the company Solarna tehnologija d.o.o. and was charged for manipulating, together with other accused persons, including the mayor of Nova Gradiška, public procurement documentation within public procurement procedure with the aim of selecting a contractor for the construction of a solar plant (BIOSOL), in order to gain an illegal advantage ahead of his competitors.
He was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment, exchanged for community service, and a fine of € 26 700 (200 000 kuna).
Furthermore, there were two remaining accused persons, one of whom managed the company VG Vodoopskrba d.o.o. and the other headed the department for projects funded by the EU within the same company.
They were charged for, upon instructions of the mayor of Velika Gorica, manipulating public procurement documentation within public procurement procedure with the aim of selecting a contractor for the construction of a wastewater treatment plant, in order to secure allocation of those works to the company owned by an accomplice of the mayor.
The first was sentenced to 11 months imprisonment, exchanged for community service, as well as a fine of € 13 400 (100 000 kuna). The other was convicted to a suspended sentence of 1 (one) year imprisonment, provided that he does not commit any criminal offence within a 3-year period.
The verdicts were the result of plea bargains, as the three accused pleaded guilty to all charges.
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