(Foto: BIRN)

Whistleblower Emir Mešić: ITA BiH Director Miro Džakula has special methods to cover up his crime

Since October last year, whistleblower Emir Mešić has been suspended. He allegedly leaked information from the ITA to the media. Although this has not been proven, Mešić has suffered arbitrariness and retaliation from ITA Director Miro Džakula for the umpteenth time since he addressed the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH.

Writes: Senka KURT

Emir Mešić, an economist at the Indirect Taxation Authority of BiH, has not been working since October.

He was punished once again, suspended, threatened, demoted…

Mešić is an employee of the Tuzla Department of the ITA, and at the end of 2018 he became a ‘’. At that time, he received the status of a protected whistleblower from the Agency for Prevention of Corruption and Coordination of the Fight against Corruption (APIK).

However, this title maybe is flattering, everywhere in Europe. Here, unfortunately, only a form, a dead letter on paper, because even after that, Mešić received decisions on termination of employment. And all because a year ago he sent letters to the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH about irregularities in the ITA, which specifically concern the rental and collection of customs terminals.

From then until today, Mešić suffers real torture. They know that in APIK, but the influence of the director of the ITA, Miro Džakula is much greater than that of the whistleblower.

Every time the media publishes new information about the compromising of director Džakula, the blame shifts mainly to Mešić. Because the director believes that Mešić is a journalist source and that it is him who gives the media information about the events in the Administration.

That is his explanation, and I claim that it is revenge - Mešić told us several times in recent months.

All Against the Law

In the official decision on suspension from duty from October 7 last year, it was investigated that Mešić was suspended due to ‘serious violations of official duty’.

This means that he will receive 70 percent of his salary during the suspension, and that the appeal will not delay the execution.

Facsimile of the Decision on Mešić’s suspension

In more detail, as stated in the decision, Mešić is charged with using the ITA information system and accessing data on bonds outside the regional centre for which he is competent without authorization and without the knowledge of his superior. According to the decision, he provided this information to third parties.

Information has been published on a portal and Džakula is convinced that I am the source. He points out that I am a ‘mole’. He believes that this is an overstepping of authority. And he blames me for something he did not prove - says Mešić for Interview.ba.

Seven days after the suspension, he filed a complaint with the ITA’s second-instance disciplinary commission, alleging a significant violation of the rules of procedure, erroneous and incomplete allegations, incorrect application of the law, and a decision on a disciplinary sanction.

Mešić claims that there is so much illogicality in the decision on suspension, but adds that he did not violate his authority.

The disciplinary report against me was not filed by my immediate supervisor, but by the assistant director of the Tax Department (which, again, Džakula, op. Cit.), who cannot know whether I accessed the data or not – the complaint states.

He points out that the ITA has again forgotten that he has the status of a whistleblower, that his commitment is to report corruption in BiH institutions.

This solution is not the only one, it is only one in a row and is the result of my reports of corruption, on the one hand, and my status as a whistleblower on the other. Obviously, the goal is to remove me from my job. These actions are being taken, contrary to all legal provisions, all in order to prevent me from supplementing my report or submitting another report for corruption  –  Mešić pointed out in the complaint.

Džakula: Longtime ruler of the ITA BiH

He also added that his status, law, and even the provisions of the Ordinance on disciplinary and material responsibility of employees in the ITA are being ignored.

The Rulebook (Article 84, item 1) says that an employee may be suspended as long as there are reasons for that, and the article stipulates when he is immediately suspended from duty. The Law on Civil Service, just like the Law on ITA, also knows the term ‘can’ and it is completely incomprehensible why they suspended me immediately - Mešić points out.

He points out that he has been denied the right to defence.

The sanction aims to impoverish me. I support my three children, and with such decisions I put my family and myself in a difficult financial position. Not to mention all the irregularities of the solution ’ –  says Mešić.

There is no answer to the question of how long the suspension will last.

Until the procedure is over. I don’t know when it will be - he adds.

Special Calculation Methods

However, he is not giving up, nor will he ever oppose the crime and corruption in the ITA that he has already reported.

Džakula has special methods of calculation, they constantly follow me, stalk me…. And the goal is to cover up his crime and corruption, which is still flourishing in the ITA, and it is constantly being written about and published - he told us recently.

However, not only he is under scrutiny and pressure, but so are the SIPA officials, who are investigating his report against the ITA. All in order to stop the investigation, carrying out checks, and investigate deeper and further.

APIK, which gave Mešić the status of a whistleblower, did not recognize that Mešić is still the target.

They found nothing disputable in the fact that in three years Mešić was sentenced to three disciplinary charges, one suspension and two degradations.

All contrary to the Law on Protection of Persons Reporting Corruption, and regardless of the Ombudsman’s recommendation that APIK should act differently.

But none of that. And that’s why this is happening now. Džakula is abusing the entire judiciary. He is only getting stronger due to the inaction of the judiciary and institutions, he is using their incompetence by settling accounts with me and other whistleblowers – Mešić believes.

But as he keeps repeating, no matter what, he will go to the end.

The dice have been rolled. This can no longer be hidden - he told us recently.

He believes in the help of international factors, which persistently insist on the fight against corruption. If the domestic judiciary will not and must not oppose Džakula, they will.

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