The former Minister of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina Selmo Cikotić was sentenced today in the first instance before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to three years in prison for abuse of office, which damaged the budget of Bosnia and Herzegovina by about 9.7 million BAM.
Cikotić is accused of using his official position and favoring the company “Scout” from Zagreb, in agreement with other persons, with the aim of obtaining benefits, from October 30, 2009 to July 12, 2011.
The indictment charges him that, contrary to the agreement on the final disposition of all rights and obligations over movable property from 2008 and the decisions of the BiH Presidency, he made and signed two decisions approving the delivery, i.e. exchange of goods, and four decisions on the delivery of ammunition.
According to the indictment, he concluded four annexes to the basic contracts on the sale of non-perspective weapons and ammunition concluded in 2003 and 2004.
By hearing two witnesses and submitting dozens of material evidence, the defense of the former Minister of Defense and Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina Selmo Cikotić, accused of abuse of office, completed the evidentiary proceedings, and the closing arguments of the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina were scheduled for October 31.
Defense witness Fadil Bihorac said at today’s hearing that he is employed in the Department for Intelligence and Security Affairs in the Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that he was appointed to the team that was in charge of implementing the contract with the Croatian company “Scout”.
He stated that this process was accompanied by a series of problems, first of all the problem of inadequately organized financial documentation.
“I know that the documentation was stored improperly in the Logistics Department, the Finance Department, everywhere. We could not conclude whether the amount from the contract was paid,” said Bihorac.
The witness said that Mario Šego from the Logistics Sector made lists of weapons to be delivered, and that he did not provide valid documentation, as well as that Šego, bypassing the procedures, made annexes to existing contracts.
Bihorac said that Šego and Dalibor Perić made lists related to the destruction of surplus weapons, which they delivered to the minister, but that those lists did not contain assets that were the subject of sale to “Scout”.
With inspector Škiljević, he went to the then chief prosecutor of the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, Goran Salihović, to whom, as he stated, he told everything he knew and showed him the list.
“Salihović asked if we would testify and I said yes, just let me know when,” said Bihorac and added that no one called him, except that a certain Alejandro from “Scout” called him and told him “that they sold”, that they called him and threatened him “that he will be arrested”.
During the cross-examination, prosecutor Mladen Furtula confronted Bihorac with the statement he gave at the Prosecutor’s Office, where he spoke about meeting with representatives of “Scout”, which the witness confirmed, and stated that the defense did not ask him about it in the courtroom.
Another defense witness, Muriz Čelik, who is employed as the head of the office and archive in the Ministry of Defense, said that the “Scout” case was never archived.
“He was on the list every year, but the decision was always made that it was an active case and that it was not archived. It was never submitted to me, nor was it archived, I know that SIPA exempted it,” Celik said.
The indictment accuses Cikotić of using his official position and favoring the company “Scout” from Zagreb, in agreement with other persons, with the aim of obtaining benefits from 2009 to 2011.
As stated, Cikotić, contrary to the Agreement on the final disposition of all rights and obligations over movable property from 2008 and the decisions of the BiH Presidency, made and signed two decisions approving the delivery, i.e. exchange of goods, and four decisions on the delivery of ammunition.
According to the indictment, he concluded four annexes to the basic contracts on the sale of unpromising weapons and ammunition concluded in 2003 and 2004, Srna reports.