Opposition caucuses on Tuesday presented a draft motion for establishing a parliamentary inquiry commission to be tasked with determining any possible disruption, disturbance or other unacceptable influence by authorities on independent investigations and on the prosecution of corruption.
Social Democratic Party (SDP) whip Arsen Bauk underlined that regardless of political and ideological differences, Opposition caucuses had defined the text of the decision starting from the smallest common denominator: the wish to live in a country that respects human rights and the right of an individual to a just judicial process and whose state agencies operate lawfully.
The commission’s objective is to establish if there is the influence of political bodies and officials in obstructing independent investigations and court procedures in corruption cases, and cases of organised crime and white-collar crime, the weaknesses in legislative and institutional frameworks in the fight against corruption and omissions in the security and judicial system that regulates classified information related to investigations and court procedures.
The commission also wishes to determine the ability of independent bodies and judicial authorities to detect, investigate and prosecute corruption and cases of abuse of power and to determine obstacles within the system to speed up punishment for corruption and organised and whicte-collar crimes.
“We were guided by those facts known in public or those less known facts about the perceptions of corruption, about the perception of information leaks during investigations,” Bauk said.
He also insists that the Opposition would lile to improve the system without meddling in concrete cases that are currently in public focus.
MP Milan Vrkljan of the Homeland Movement party claimed that events surrounding the Janaf scandal have shown that the system is not functioning and that Croatia has become a country “deep in crime.”
MP Nikola Grmoja (Bridge) added that the commission needs to be established as soon as possible, and added that the commission will not deal with the Janaf case in particular but the influence of authorities on investigations.
MP Tomislav Tomasevic (Green-Left caucus) said that it is in everyone’s interest to prevent information leaks during investigations and systematic influence of politics on investigative bodies.
He warned that it is not normal for someone to have several tens of millions of kuna more than their income and that for years the red light did not start flashing to raise the alarm.
Dalija Oreskovic (IP, GLAS & Pametno) hopes that this commission will be more successful than previous attempts and that it manages to reveal the anomalies in the system which is a first-class national issue.
Remaining opposition parties including the Sovereignists, IDS, HSS and HSU all support the establishment of the inquiry commission.
The proposal has been sent to the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the opposition expects it to support the motion and show that it is prepared to deal with corruption and that it has nothing to hide.
If it is established, the commission will investigate the work of the Interior Ministry, Police Directorate, as well as some other police and prosecutorial agencies, Tax Administration, courts and the Constitutional Court.
Indirectly the commission can investigate the President’s Office, Prime Minister’s cabinet, Parliamentar Speaker’s cabinet, Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, parliamentary Committee for Domestic Affairs and National Security and the council for civil supervision of the security-intelligence agency and supervision over the implementation of individual police powers.
The commission is supposed to find anomalies in the system, make its recommendation of how to improve the legislative framework and how to restore citizens’ trust in institutions.