President Milanović talks with locals and first responders during a tour of earthquake-affected areas (Photo: HRT) President Milanović talks with locals and first responders during a tour of earthquake-affected areas (Photo: HRT)

During a tour of earthquake-affected Petrinja, Sisak, and Glina on Wednesday Milanović said that it was a shame that the 1990s reconstruction of buildings damaged in the war had been botched, but said it was not a matter that should be investigated by state prosecutors.

"It is obvious that the work was shoddy or the blueprints were bad. These houses were poorly built or someone was stingy with building materials. Twenty years have passed and I think that a statute of limitations has expired," Milanovic told reporters in Petrinja.

He also said that he did not think this was a form of war profiteering, however the construction was botched and contractors skimped on materials.

"Whom can you charge with that? The late president? No. A political party? No. That's just one of our shameful episodes and I don't see what DORH would have to do here," underscored Milanović.

Milanović noted that the homes were rebuilt under a government program and hundreds of supervising engineers had vouched for the quality of the work.

Commenting on the possibility of post-earthquake reconstruction being conducted through public works, Milanović was skeptical about construction work but did see a place for local cooks being involved in the warm meals effort that is now underway. He said this could be an alternative to contracting the state-owned company Pleter, which provides meals for the military.

"I see room for them to work here with or even without Pleter and for the government to pay them just as it pays Pleter," said Milanovic, adding that that was what he would do if he was in government.

Asked whether he would support the opposition initiative to establish a parliamentary commission to investigate post-war reconstruction, Milanović said that that was up to parliamentary parties to decide, adding that he did not see any room for an inquiry commission to call witnesses or key stakeholders.

Milanović confirmed that he had spoken with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and that they had talked about everything including Pleter.

"I don't want to criticize just for the sake of it and that is why I came here today to see firsthand,” he said, adding that some of the things Plenković told him did appear to be true, while he was not sure about other things.

“I don't see any drama in that," said Milanović.

Source: HINA/HRT