WHO IS CLEARING OUT “SARAJEVO ŠUME” Bread and circuses in “bogner” jackets

Whatever the event is called, the Foresters’ Contest or the European Foresters’ Competition, the fact is that BAM 4.5 million were spent. It has not been proven that jackets were also bought for some ministers, but it has been proven that “Sarajevo šume” (Sarajevo forests) are used only to house party directors.

Author: Džan HELAĆ

It was November 14 of last year when the opposition councilor in the Canton Sarajevo Assembly Haris Zahiragić (SDA) had accused the then Minister of Economy in the Government of the Canton Sarajevo, and today’s Federation Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Adnan Delić, of profligacy in a live TV broadcast.

Zahiragić pointed out that Delić allocated more than BAM 4 million from the budget for “Foresters’ contest” (Šumarijada), which was held on Igman at the beginning of February 2023 under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy of Canton Sarajevo. Zahiragić also said that Delić used the opportunity to get ski equipment for his party friends.

As a reminder, Sarajevo hosted the largest forestry event in the world “53rd EFNS European Forester’s Biathlon Competition, Sarajevo-Igman 2023” in the period from February 5 to February 2023, gathering as many as 740 foresters from 21 European countries.

Sport, culture and history

A total of BAM 4.5 million was approved, as a grant, for this event from the budget of Canton Sarajevo. The event was announced not only as a sport event, but also as a cultural and historical event.

Post from the private Linkedin account of Adnan Delić

At a press conference that was held before the event the then Cantonal Minister of Economy, Adnan Delić, had underlined that it is a positive story and that he expects media attention identical to the one from 1984 when 14th Winter Olympic Games were held in Sarajevo.

This statement caused ridicule among the opposition in Canton Sarajevo.

Questions, questions, questions

– A competition of foresters organized by him? You spent that money on ski equipment, jackets for the ministers, other members of the Government and their friends. Winter jackets that you bought with our money. You have used machinery of Sarajevo šume to prepare the infrastructure for the Foresters’ contests, and later you paid invoices of private company that did not do it at all- said Zahiragić.

Questions were asked to the authorities in Canton Sarajevo even before that, particularly to the then minister Adnan Delić, who headed the Ministry of Economy.

The media also started asking questions – how much will this event cost; how much will the Canton Sarajevo tax payers give for this event; who are the organizers; where will the millions come from.

On that February 8 Ministry of Economy  officially published the news about the parade and the opening of the 53rd European foresters’ competition in Nordic skiing – EFNS.

Ceremonial parade of the participants (Photo: Canton Sarajevo Ministry of Economy)

Before the official opening Minister Delić said that “we are slowly returning the old Olympic spirit to the city of Sarajevo, as well as the splendor to the Olympic mountains Igman and Bjelašnica”.

Minister Delić at the EFNS opening ceremony (photo: Canton Sarajevo Ministry of Economy)

He briefly answered the questions that arose both in the Assembly and amongst the general public, saying that he has no knowledge about holding of “Šumarijada”, as the position had called this event, on Igman.

If I remember correctly

He also denied allocation of any budget funds for this event, although he appeared at a press conference some 15 days earlier where he announced the controversial event himself, and he was also at the opening ceremony of this event.

We have received almost identical answers following our persistent inquiries.

– When it comes to your question I do not know that any “Šumarijada” (Foresters’ contest) was held on Igman. If I remember correctly last “Šumarijada” was held on Vlašić this year, and before that in Tomislavgrad, and before that in Bosanska Krupa, and I can say with certainty that the Ministry of Economy of Canton Sarajevo during Minister Delić’s term did not support either of them because we were not asked to do that, and this also answers one of your next questions since we were neither sponsors not part of the organization – read the answers of the Ministry.

Thus, the problem ends there for the minister. When we called the European Foresters’ competition “Šumarijada”, he used that colloquial term for avoid the answer.

Both he and all those who stayed after him to work in the Ministry of Economy of Canton Sarajevo.

It is not “Šumarijada”, but it is a significant project

The Ministry of Economy of Canton Sarajevo has no information about the holding of “Šumarijada” on Igman, and has no information about its organization and financing. We know that the 53rd European Foresters’ Competition in Nordic skiing was held on Igman in 2023, and it was declared a project of public importance for the Canton Sarajevo by an act of the Canton Sarajevo Government from 2019 – they said.

Whatever the name of the competition, it is important to know if the money was spent. Or even more important – was some of the money used to buy private things. Like those jackets that Zahiragić was talking about.

He was suddenly not in the mood to answer our questions.

We wanted to ask him if he had got the answers and if his statements about the purchase of ski equipment for some members of the Canton Sarajevo Government were really true.

However, regardless of that, the fact remains that the Ministry of Economy of Canton Sarajevo, as the general sponsor, had financed the entire costs of the competition, while the organizers of the Sarajevo EFNS were the cantonal enterprise “Sarajevo – šume” and the Association of Forest Engineers and Technicians of FBiH.

First Bašić, then Delić

Following the decision in Italy the European Foresters’ Competition in Nordic skiing was held for the second time on Igman, which was the result of the successful organization of the 38th EFNS that was held in 2006 also in Sarajevo.

The event was declared an event of public importance for Canton Sarajevo by the Decision of the Canton Sarajevo Government, published in the Official Gazette of April 25, 2019 and was signed by the then Minister, Haris Bašić, Delić’s party colleague.

Zahiragić used the expensive jackets just as an excuse to divert the attention from the disastrous situation in “Sarajevo-šume”, which was managed by SDA cadre for years.

Same as the report on operations of that enterprise for 2021 was also found before the councilors of the Canton Sarajevo Assembly in November of last year.

Just a few months earlier a new director, Samir Omerović, was appointed at the proposal of People and Justice (NIP). The then president of the Canton Sarajevo Assembly, Elvedin Okerić, said that the analysis of this enterprise’s documents has revealed serious indications of crime and corruption, and that everything was reported to the Anti-Corruption office.

Illegal employment of 18 employees

The previous SDA director, Adnan Proha, had illegally employed 18 people just before his dismissal, which was also publicly discussed by the Anti-Corruption Office of Canton Sarajevo.

Copy of a portion of “Sarajevo Šume” Operations Report for 2021.

However, the current managers of “Sarajevo šume” did not answer our questions about the financial profitability of the event organized by the enterprise that is drowning in debt.

Drowning in debt

The current management of the enterprise found a debt of BAM 3 million. Sarajevo-šume operated with a loss of BAM 2.4 million in 2020 alone.

Companies in this branch of the economy live off of logging and the so-called yield that covers the period of 10 years and is used as a basis for medium-term plans that ensure production, because not using the yield automatically means a loss. In this specific case, the failure to use the yield in just two years means a debt of BAM 13 million, and its use generates a profit of BAM 20 million, and that is precisely why a long-term plan is important for this enterprise, and we do not know if it exists. This can only happen in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is too rich in forests, which, unfortunately, instead of being professional and systematically exploited, are cleared and stolen by private companies and sold across the world for next to nothing.

New registration fee

The Federation Association of Forest Engineers and Technicians has in the meantime issued an invitation for payment of the registration fee for participation in the 54th EFNS, to be held from January 21 to 27, 2024 in Les Contamines-Montjoie in the Republic of France.

I am not authorized

It is interesting that “Sarajevo-šume” were the ones that disposed of BAM 4.5 million on February 7 on Igman and did not want to talk to our portal about how the money was spent. In the response of the Association, the president of the organizing committee of the February event on Igman, Azer Jamaković, wrote:

It is interesting that this Association refers to the Ministry and all those responsible in this case. The same approach is not applied when we talk about the illegal logging in the immediate vicinity of the ski slopes, which the cantonal authorities were obliged to stop.

We did not get answers to any questions even after absolute insistence and reference to the Freedom of Information Act.

The ministry only sent copies of the decisions from the Official Gazette signed by the previous Prime Ministers of the Government of Canton Sarajevo, Edin Forto and Mario Nenadić, and relating to what is already available to the public.

In addition to these copies, we also received the Project study concerning organization, financing and holding of the event held in February 2023.

There is no date on the project study.

Furthermore, no account was rendered either to the councilors or to the citizens.

Our millions, and doubts about whether and how they were spent, remain a currency for political bribery. On one side SDA that has brought “Sarajevo-šume” into a difficult position, and on the other side the current government in the canton that does not like to be asked questions.

 

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