(Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL) (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL)

Croatian lawmakers voted on Friday to lift the immunity of three MPs to face various corruption charges. The move is unprecedented in parliament's recent history because never before had three lawmakers been stripped of immunity from criminal prosecution in a single day.

The MPs in question, two from the HDZ and one from the opposition SDP, are Dražen Barišić, mayor of Velika Gorica; Darko Puljašić, mayor of Požega; and Vinko Grgić, mayor of Nova Gradiška; respectively.

The decision was carried by 121 votes in favour and one abstention in the case of Barišić and by 123 votes in favour and two abstentions in the cases of Puljaić and Grgić.

Barišić and Grgić are suspected in a corruption case involving the state-run JANAF oil pipeline operator and the Elektrocentar Petek company from Ivanić Grad. A total of 13 persons are suspected of financial wrongdoing in this case.

Barišić is suspected of influence peddling and misuse of position and authority, while Grgić is suspected of bribe taking.

Puljašić, meanwhile, is connected with another case - the extension of a primary school in Požega. It has been found that the city administration received funding for this project from the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds although no work was done. It is suspected that this was done on the basis of an agreement that was falsified by Puljašić.

On Thursday, Barišić suspended his term in parliament and was replaced by Mato Čičak, the mayor of Rugvica. Čičak was sworn in on Friday.

Source: HRT