The Conflict of Interest Commission today confirmed that it has opened a case against Minister of Defense Mario Banožić on the basis of an article in the "Nacional" weekly claiming that he had allocated an apartment in the center of Zagreb to himself.
“The Conflict of Interest Commission opened a case against Minister Mario Banožić today, based on an article published in Nacional,” said the spokesperson of that commission, Martina Jurišić.
She also explained that now the case will "go into normal processing", or data and documentation will be collected to determine the facts, and then it will go to a session of the Commission where a decision will be made on whether or not to initiate proceedings.
The "Nacional" weekly wrote in its latest issue that Minister Banožić had allocated himself a 92-square-meter apartment in the center of Zagreb. It also states that none of the 133 apartments intended for official needs suited Banožić and he chose another apartment, much larger than the ones used by ministers. In addition, he had it luxuriously renovated, and the State Properties Company, writes Nacional, tried to cover up how 200,000 kuna was spent on the renovation.
The Ministry of Defense rejected the allegations from "Nacional" that Minister Mario Banožić chose the apartment he would get for use, assessing that they were malicious and untrue and that they were trying to compromise the minister who had the right to a 92-square-meter apartment because he has three children.
They also assessed as untrue the claims that "Banožić allocated himself a 92-square-meter apartment in the very heart of Zagreb so that he could go to work on foot", as the title of today's article in the weekly Nacional reads. In doing so, they referred to the decree which prescribes the measures and criteria for the allocation of real estate for the needs of state administration bodies or other bodies of users of the state budget and other persons.
The Ministry of Defense also denied that the apartment had been renovated for the Minister and added that the apartment had been partially renovated even before it was handed over to Minister Banožić for use.
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