Oreskovic: Decision on Karamarko served to prevent probes into PM Plenkovic

NEWS 18.05.2022 14:26
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Source: N1

After the High Administrative Court quashed the Conflict of Interest Commission's decision that former HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko had been in a conflict of interest, former Commission chair and now an MP, Dalija Oreskovic, said the case was a political pretext serving to prevent the Commission from investigating PM Andrej Plenković.

“It was clear what epilogue the situation would have from the moment the Constitutional Court ruled on that case in July 2019. All subsequent decisions by administrative courts, including in Karamarko’s case, as well as in all the cases in which the Commission decided about the violation of principles of conduct, followed the basic decision and instruction of the Constitutional Court,” Oreskovic told reporters in the parliament.

She was commenting on the High Administrative Court’s final ruling quashing the 2016 decision by the Conflict of Interest Commission which found that former HDZ leader and Deputy PM Tomislav Karamarko had been in a conflict of interest, which was why he withdrew from politics.

Oreskovic, a member of parliament from the Centre party, said the Constitutional Court’s decision contested the Conflict of Interest Commission’s authority to decide and make declaratory decisions on breaches of principles of conduct.

“That decision was not primarily motivated by justice-seeking or defence of constitutionality in the case of Tomislav Karamarko but was a political front for aborting the Conflict of Interest Commission as an anti-corruption body with the aim of preventing it from looking into cases involving Andrej Plenkovic,” she said.

Oreskovic recalled that at the time when the Constitutional Court decided on the Karamarko case, the Conflict of Interest Commission was expecting to deal with reports filed against PM Plenkovic (concerning the appointment of his close friend Igor Pokaz as ambassador to the UK, the HDZ party’s trip to Helsinki aboard a government plane, and the Agrokor and Borg affairs), which involved Plenkovic, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric and former Economy Minister, Martina Dalic.

“The degree of conflict of interest in Karamarko’s case is insignificant compared to the gravity of violations of law in Plenkovic’s case, and if such practice had been supported by the system, the government of Andrej Plenkovic would have fallen long ago,” she said.

The Constitutional Court’s decision not only protected Plenkovic from facing political responsibility but was used by the HDZ to fully erase from the new Conflict of Interest Act the provision on the violation of principles of conduct, she said.

Oreskovic said that instead of the Conflict of Interest Commission “we now have a scandalous novelty that has enabled the government to adopt a code of ethics for office-holders, with the relevant decisions being made by a body directly under government control.”

“The standards are being eroded and today we have a completely paralyzed anti-corruption system,” said Oreskovic warned.

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