TURMOIL IN THE UIO: Zoran Tegeltija granted VIP status, appoints best man as chief operative exploiting state customs


In practice, this is what it looks like: when Tegeltija travels, two police officers accompany him in an official vehicle with paid accommodation, per diems, and fuel covered by public funds. If he decides to relax by the sea, the escort joins him everywhere – on the beach, in restaurants, and their accommodation is also covered. All at the expense of public funds

Author: Gordan DUHAČEK

Since Zoran Tegeltija (SNSD) took over the helm of the Indirect Taxation Authority (UIO) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, replacing the longtime director Miro Džakula (HDZ), the largest state institution rightfully called the “golden hen”, has seen only a change in “colours and names”, while the system of nepotism, clientelism, and corruption remains unchanged.

To ensure full control over the management of state customs, Tegeltija promptly appointed his best man Goran Marinković as the chief operative upon taking charge of UIO, later promoted to Head of the Customs Affairs Department in RC Banja Luka. This move triggered a series of personnel reshuffles and controversial hirings, as reported by sources within UIO to Valter.

In a manner reminiscent of Balašević’s song, “the principle is the same, only the nuances have changed”, Tegeltija has managed to introduce a new form of luxury by becoming the first director of state customs in history to be a protected person, with significant budgetary funds allocated monthly for this purpose.


According to the Instructions on the scope and manner of performing tasks related to the physical and technical security of individuals, objects, and property, the UIO director doesn’t automatically fall into the category of protected persons, as he is neither the prime minister, a member of the Presidency, the chief state prosecutor, a member of the Parliamentary Collegium of BiH, nor a minister. However, the former director of the Directorate for the Coordination of Police Bodies (DKPT), Mirsad Vilić, deemed it impossible to confidently rule out the possibility of jeopardising Mr. Tegeltija’s security in the coming period, considering the “complex economic and socio-political situation in the country and the region”.  As a result, Tegeltija became a protected person, confirmed in the response to Valter from DKPT.

“The team providing immediate security for Mr. Tegeltija consists of two police officers from the Directorate who use an official motor vehicle in their work”, confirmed DKPT in response to our portal’s inquiry.

Photo: Response to Valter from the Directorate for the Coordination of Police Bodies (DKPT)

According to Valter’s information, the police officers involved in this matter are Boris Knežević and Velibor Čičković. The decision for Tegeltija to remain a protected person was also signed by the previous DKPT director, Mirsad Vilić. The new director of DKPT, Enes Karić, has not yet revoked or changed this decision.

DKPT cites several reasons for Tegeltija’s protection, including the detection of threatening messages expressing “very high religious and national intolerance towards Mr. Tegeltija” during his tenure as the Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

“Additionally, the Directorate has been informed by other police agencies that the continuation of direct physical protection for Mr. Tegeltija is necessary, taking into account previous threats towards the protected person and the importance of Mr. Tegeltija’s earlier duties. In accordance with the presented information, a decision was made on June 20, 2023, to establish physical security for UIO director Tegeltija, as long as a justified need exists”, explained DKPT.

Photo: The vehicle presumed to be from Tegeltija’s convoy.

This makes Zoran Tegeltija the first director of state customs in 20 years to have police protection, with a substantial monthly allocation from the budget. In practice, when Tegeltija travels, two police officers accompany him in an official vehicle with paid accommodation and per diems, and fuel for the vehicle is covered – all funded by taxpayers.

Furthermore, if Tegeltija decides to take a break by the sea from his demanding work for the country and its citizens, the escort accompanies him. The police officers are with him on the beach and in restaurants, and their accommodation is also covered, all financed by taxpayers’ money.


Typically, the protection of VIP individuals is carried out according to the Instructions on the scope and manner of performing tasks related to the physical and technical security of individuals, objects, and property, which was adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2005.

Photo: Facsimile of the Proposal Decision of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Very important persons (VIPs) who are directly secured and monitored in their movements are divided into three categories, based on the level of state function they perform.

The first category includes members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH, and foreign officials in BiH. The second category consists of members of the Council of Ministers, the Chief Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, the Chairman of the House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH, and the Chairman of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH. In the third category, among others, are VIP personalities directly secured by the Decision of the Council of Ministers of BiH and the decision of the director of the DKPT.

When he left the Council of Ministers six months ago, Tegeltija ceased to be in the first category and became a third category VIP protected person, requiring the director of DKPT’s signature. Tegeltija can, of course, renounce police protection, saving taxpayers in BiH and enabling the engagement of two police officers where they are truly needed, but there are no indications that he intends to do so. Zoran Tegeltija apparently believes that his VIP status belongs to him no matter which position he holds. And there always seems to be some position for him.

As for the costs, considering the salaries of the two police officers accompanying Tegeltija and all the expenses mentioned, we are talking about tens of thousands of marks per month.

The swift adaptation of this VIP figure to the new role, creating a perfect atmosphere in the new environment, is confirmed by information validated to Valter from several independent sources. Each source raises concerns about the highly detrimental actions of Tegeltija’s best man, Goran Marinković, whom Tegeltija appointed as the head of the Customs Department in the Regional Center Banja Luka and the nominal head of all personnel in the UIO BiH. This was achieved by reshuffling department heads in the Banja Luka customs office throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, allowing Marinković, who, as a reminder, was arrested and investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH as a member of an organised criminal group in the PANDORA operation in 2014, to be placed in a suitable position to influence future personnel decisions.

Today, Marinković serves as Tegeltija’s chief operative in the UIO.

In the meantime, according to Valter’s sources, he has “scattered” more than 100 people across the organisational units of the UIO throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many personnel have been put in a difficult position simply by the fact that they have to relocate and accept a position they have never worked in before. Therefore, it is highly questionable how such reshuffling contributes to the efficiency of the UIO.

It’s noteworthy that his son, Srđan Marinković, from the IT sector of the Central Office of the UIO, was transferred to CI Gradiška. This destination is considered the most desirable due to heavy traffic and all that comes with it (taking “coffee breaks”). Consequently, Goran Marinković is now directly supervising his son’s boss, Radovan Đurić.


The paths of staffing in the UIO are mysterious, but it is evident that Serbian personnel close to the ruling SNSD are preferred for responsible positions. Equally fascinating is how individuals close to one beloved leader quickly shift focus to another, as illustrated by Jelena Majstorović.

Despite being officially suspended, Jelena Majstorović, a former close and trusted associate of the former director Džakula, has been received by the new director at least three times.

Recall that SIPA arrested Jelena Majstorović at the end of 2022, along with five others, suspected of participating in a criminal group. It is also known that Jelena Majstorović was dismissed from NLB Bank in Prnjavor in 2003. The bank sued her for a criminal offence, and in 2005, she was sentenced to a conditional prison term. In 2016, she negotiated the removal of the conviction from the court’s records.

At that time, she had already been in the UIO for three years and soon became the head of the Smuggling Suppression and Offences Group. The Prosecutor’s Office of BiH charges her with association for committing criminal offences and the criminal offence of abuse of position or authority.

An indictment from the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH against her and five accomplices is expected soon. They are accused of extortion of shop owners, found in violations, during 2017 and 2018, demanding and taking bribes from them. Traders across BiH paid from a few hundred to several thousand marks to inspectors to issue minor penalty orders or let them continue operating as usual. Illegally, they seized jewellery worth over 200,000 marks from them at least four times. According to law enforcement, all of this happened under the leadership of Jelena Majstorović within the UIO. In other words, she allegedly formed a racketeering group within the UIO.

Jelena Majstorović (Photo: CIN)

Tegeltija promised a fresh start, but the only substantial difference is that the UIO has now become part of the SNSD’s spoils in the power distribution, whereas before it was under HDZ’s influence. In response to Valter’s inquiry, the UIO confirmed that they have suspended 17 officials from their positions “due to the existence of reasonable suspicion that they have committed a serious breach of official duty”.

“The final decision on their status in the UIO will be known after the completion of legal proceedings and disciplinary proceedings”, replied the UIO.

However, regarding Jelena Majstorović, the UIO remained silent. According to our sources, Majstorović asked Tegeltija not to touch her people, such as Dejan Zrnić and Milena Dmitrović, the current acting head of the Prevention of Offences and Smuggling Group at the Regional Office of the UIO BiH in Banja Luka. This is despite the fact that Majstorović herself is among the 17 suspended officials.


At the beginning of his tenure, Tegeltija promised to bring young professionals to the UIO, stating that the UIO must be “open to young and skilled individuals who will contribute to the professional and quality improvement of the services provided by the Authority”.  To some extent, this seems to be reflected on social media, where some new UIO recruits proudly share photos in a glamorous style.

Young Maja Romanić is employed as an advisor for customs in the Office of the Director of the UIO. This photo taken during working hours attests to her dedicated work.

Photo: Maja Romanić

Romanić has developed a close relationship with Dajana Ljubanić, the head of investigations for the entire BiH, who has been carefully building her career at the UIO for years. They can be seen together in “high society”.  UIO sources claim that Ljubanić has never been operationally in the field or conducted any inspection supervision.

Photo: Dajana Ljubanić (a picture that has been on the Facebook profile for a long time)

Currently, in accordance with the applicable Job Classification Regulation, the UIO is supposed to have 3,333 officials (3,319 positions in the UIO and 14 positions in the UIO Administrative Board).

At this moment, the UIO has only employed 2,335 officials, of which 2,162 are on a permanent basis, and 173 on a temporary basis. The budget for 2023 has approved the UIO to have a total of 2,591 employees.

This means that the UIO is lacking several hundred workers to operate at full capacity. In other words, hiring qualified and capable individuals is not problematic; the challenge lies in hiring based on family, political, and friendship connections – a standard practice in post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Discontented workers also testify that with Zoran Tegeltija’s appointment as the director of state customs, contracts for 54 UIO employees on a temporary basis were not extended, even though some had been working for the UIO for up to five years.

In September, the UIO BiH announced that “public announcements for permanent employment will be published in the coming period”.  Regarding this, we asked whether these public announcements had been published in the past two and a half months and how many of the 54 temporary employees were hired on a permanent basis:

“The announcement for the recruitment of 66 new employees with high school and college education on a permanent basis was published on October 24, 2023. This process is ongoing, and we expect it to be concluded by the end of 2023. After that, the UIO will proceed with the procedure of announcing the recruitment of state officials with college education on a permanent basis”, replied the UIO to Valter.

Photo: Advertisement for new job positions.

“All individuals with fixed-term contracts in the UIO fully meet the requirements for establishing an employment relationship”, say the UIO, adding, “If it concerns individuals with a college degree, the fixed-term employment contract is concluded only after obtaining the approval of the Agency for Civil Service of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Before granting approval, the Agency verifies for each individual whether they meet the required conditions for the specific position. There is no individual employed in the UIO based on a service contract”, they emphasise.


Photo: Response from UIO

Contrary to that, rumours suggest that positions in the UIO are paid up to 25,000 BAM.

It’s worth noting that the Audit Office of the Institutions of BiH issued a qualified opinion on the financial report for 2022. One of the reasons for this opinion is the lack of progress in implementing projects compared to previous years. Out of the total available funds of 53,958,666 BAM for multi-year capital investments, only four percent, or 2,084,550 BAM, were utilised in 2022.

It seems that spending money won’t be a problem for Tegeltija. The UIO has published an advertisement to purchase a business building in Banja Luka, which is intended to house the administration of this institution and the Regional Center Banja Luka. The ad specifies that the building must be located in the city centre of Banja Luka, and the purchase is to be made on a “turnkey” basis. Reportedly, the UIO will spend “only” 70 million BAM on this, and the deadline for submitting offers expired on January 17.

Recall that media reported several years ago that the plan was to purchase the building of the company Grand Trade, owned by Banja Luka “businessman” Mile Radišić, a close associate of Dodik. The building is located in the heart of Banja Luka, on the site of the former Picnic Park, and Radišić offered it to the UIO for nearly 100 million BAM. It was purpose-built for the administration, and all arrangements were made at the highest political level.

Leaders of the SNSD and HDZ, Milorad Dodik and Dragan Čović, were involved in the entire story of buying the building. At that time, they were already considering replacing Džakula with a Serb in line with the national rotation of positions, and Tegeltija fulfilled that quota.

In any case, since being appointed as the director of the UIO last summer, Zoran Tegeltija has been busy. Unfortunately, it’s the usual business for Bosnian-Herzegovinian politicians, consisting of staffing, employment, national conquest of institutional territory, and the like, all accompanied by (in)appropriate police protection. Tegeltija is a VIP-protected person as the first director of state customs in history.

Idi naVrh

Don't Miss