Liquidation of directors in RS

Tijana Tadic

MON, 11 SEP 2000

Banja Luka, September 5, 2000 - At the moment when Mirko Asanin, newly appointed General Manager of the RS "Elektroprivreda" (Electric-Power Generation and Distribution Industry), complained to the people via TV how, through no fault of his, a journalist had beaten him up, the burlesque about parties, directors and the media in RS reached its climax. All previous and latter open correspondence between Milorad Dodik, Petar Djokic, Rajko Dukic, Zivko Radisic and the mentioned Asanin are but replicas of the old story about pre-election liquidation of directors.

Through Dodik's Government, Dodik's Social-Democrats are doing exactly the same thing that SDS had done during its one-party rule, the only difference being that today's RS political scene no longer belongs to one party.

Dodik's boys have respectable opponents, primarily in the SDS, which has already been through all that, but which now operates in an amazing symbiosis with the one time Dodik's coalition partners - the Socialists. Thus, multi-partyism has introduced yet another quality: replacements of directors are now seasoned with excesses and public disclosure of dirty laundry, again for pre-election purposes.

The only problem is that people, with normal cultural and hygienic habits, generally feel sick at the mere sight of dirty laundry, especially other people's laundry. But, since the domestic politician are not excessively queasy, the show goes on. The ongoing and still unfinished saga about the replacement of directors in RS dates back to the times when Socialists abandoned the ruling coalition Sloga (Harmony), i.e. denied obedience to the Socialist Dodik. Those who realised on time what could be the consequences of such kind of disloyalty for directors and officials, formed a new Democratic Socialist Party.

Already several months ago, the Director of the Serbian Posts, Milutin Pejic, was among the first of old Radisic's Socialists to be called on the carpet. After Pejic's dismissal ensued a seeming lull, long enough for the cards to be shuffled in Governing and Supervisory Boards of state enterprises, after which the liquidation continued. In Bijeljina, Cvijetin Nikic, local folk star and SDS leader was removed from his position as Director of the Semberska Bank, which was yet another confirmation that SDS and the Socialists have definitely formed a coalition against Dodik and the Sloga members who had joined him. After this, another ten unsuitable directors of smaller state enterprises and institutions in the largest city of Semberija were removed, mostly according to the well-known party quotas. However, this was just an introduction into some major investments.

Next was the RS "Elektroprivreda" (EP) where the liquidation started from the very top. After replacements carried out in the Electrical Power Industry's Management and Supervisory Boards, the Government also removed this firm's General Manager. The dethroned EP General Manager Slobodan Mrdic warned that the next would be managers of firms EP dependants: Thermo-Electric Power Plants and Hydro-Electric Power Plants. The fact that some time ago, Rajko Dukic, Director of "Bauxite" from Milic and President of the EP RS Management Board, attacked his former friend Bora Bosic in the media, trying to prove that he was a thief and tax evader, clearly shows that unless Dodik's Government falls soon, Bosic will lose his post as a director. Although Rajko Dukic is not a member of any party, he is probably the most famous Serbian sympathiser who is, incidentally, always on good terms with those in power, so that in this case his stands can serve as the best indicator as to which way the wind is blowing.

The example of the Serbian Posts showed that replacements are no longer carried out in total silence, as was the case during the SDS's absolute rule. As a reaction to the replacement of General Manager workers called a strike. Political manipulation is the only explanation for this incredible phenomenon that workers on strike state that they are satisfied with salaries and working conditions, but at the same time demand things which have nothing to do with workers' interests. On the other hand, in his well-known style, the Prime Minster publicly stated that strike organisers would be punished as soon as the Director, appointed by the Government, assumes his duty.

In the case of the Electrical Power Industry the battle was wages with different means. First, after changes carried out in the EP Management Board, when it was not difficult to guess that next on the elimination list would be Directors, Petar Djikic sent an open letter to the Prime Minister harshly warning him, in the hardly understandable style of Tito's youth activist, not to carry out his intended plan because that was not in line with the National Assembly conclusions and reminding him that the Government was obliged to inform the Assembly Commission (which is surprisingly headed by an SDS member, Boro Paravac) on all changes under its jurisdiction. He also warned the Prime Minister of the Government's bad standing in the National Assembly.

Dodik replied in a style from which it was not hard to conclude that the greedy Prime Minister didn't care a bit for Assembly Commissions, nor for the Government's position in Parliament for that matter, and that, irrespective of open accusations, he intended to replace the Director of the Electric Power Industry. In this, he did not fail to mention Djokic's style and call his speech an attempt at defending his party comrades. However, Dodik overlooked the fact that it was him who was bringing his party comrades in place of Djokic's men.

Thus, the Socialist Mrdic was relieved of office and Marko Asanin, a SNSD men, appointed the EP Director. However, instead of taking the Director's chair, Asanin appeared before the media to complain that Slobodan Mrdic was refusing to hand over his position. This was followed with Mrdic's statement that he learned of his removal from the papers, that it was illegal, and (in the well-known style "I only recognise the judgement of my party") pointed out that he would leave the chief management position only after he received an order to that effect from the Assembly President Petar Djokic. Incidentally, he also said that the Management Board which had relieved him of duty was illegal and that according to the law Rajko Djukic couldn't be a member, let alone President of this firm's Management Board because he was directly interested in EP's business operations as the Director of "Bauxite", one of major business partners of Electrical Power Industry.

Naturally, Mrdic's objection is up to the point, but it is Interesting that he remember it only now when his position is slipping. Then it was the turn of Rajko Djukic, President of the Management Board, who said that Mrdic was replaced not because he was a Socialist, but because of his poor management of the firm. Mrdic responded that he took very good care of the enterprise because, firstly, the Government had positively assessed business operation of the Electric Power Generation and Distribution Industry and, secondly, DM 180 million worth annual losses were reduced to negligible 80 million during his directorship. In response to all this, Asanin ordered the blocking of the firm's gyro account so as to prevent the man who was falsely presenting himself as the Director from harming the enterprise and the state.

After Asanin's return from Trebinje and his unsuccessful mission of taking over the managerial post, an incident occurred in Srpsko Sarajevo. After he appeared miraculously, probably uninvited, in Radio Srpsko Sarajevo and, to put it neutrally, got into a fight with a journalist of "Srpsko oslobodjenje" (Serbian Liberation), Ljubisa Lazic, Asanin once again used the media to cry on their shoulder. This time he told the Republic of Srpska Television an unbelievable story how, in fact, the journalist had attacked him. It is very unlikely that anyone could believe that the times have come in the Balkans when journalists were attacking officials, let alone physically assault them. This was followed by statements of the Radio Srpsko Sarajevo and "Srpsko oslobodjenje" which explained who was in this story the attacker and who the attacked party.

Trying to get out of the folly he had committed, Asanin made an even bigger one: in his public statement he called Radio Srpsko Sarajevo the nest of drug addicts, accused the journalist Lazic of offending and beating him, without a reason, in a hashish caused attack of madness, offhandedly calling him a petty-gambler. Still, the most morbid thing in this already morbid story, is a syntagm with which Asanin described the Serbian Radical Party calling it a handful of creatures walking the earth. For, it was precisely as a member of that same party that Asanin became a Minister in the first mandate of the Council of Ministers of B&H, and thus started his career as an official. His statement makes it perfectly clear that, although he had pragmatically changed a party, he kept Ognjen Tadic's style.

In the midst of all these open letters, statements and counter-statement, Zivko Radisic's famous press conference was organised. He tried to get his revenge on his former coalition partners, for the replacement of his party colleagues from managerial posts, with a story about coffee trailers. He informed the public that a private company "Dena", which was licensed for consignment storage of 120 trailers of coffee, was registered on the basis of a forged identity card and that, according to the given address, it was located in the building of the Banjaluka Music School. On the other hand, according to a decision of the Customs Administration, authorised personnel came to the location and confirmed on the spot that both the enterprise and warehouse were there. Since coffee is not usually stored in music schools, which incidentally has barely enough space to accommodate all pupils and instruments, it is clear that this was Customs' shameless deception and a major plunder of the state by which, after all, all RS citizens have been robbed for a still undetermined number of millions. The point is that the Customs Administration is controlled by Nebojsa Radmanovic's Socialists, loyal to Dodik, and the question is whether Zivko Radisic knew about all this while his party comrade was the first man of the Customs Administration.

However, it is interesting that next to the Music School, at the same address, is a house of the Director of the Republican Customs Administration, Dragoljub Trivanovic. For the time being, only the tabloid PRST carried this news. Cynics comment that even PRST sometimes publishes truth, especially when it is in the SDS's interest.

Original article