21:55 / 16.02.2022.

Author: Katja Miličić

SDP lawmakers under fire for receiving benefits that raise ethics questions

SDP MPs Arsen Bauk and Peđa Grbin

SDP MPs Arsen Bauk and Peđa Grbin

Foto: Patrik Macek / PIXSELL

SDP lawmakers Peđa Grbin and Arsen Bauk have come under fire for taking advantage of some of the benefits and privileges that come with being a member of parliament but raise ethics issues in these particular cases. 

Among the benefits the two MPs reaped were separate living allowances, paid apartments in Zagreb, and travel expenses although both live in the capital with their families.

Grbin has been receiving an away-from-home living allowance because he is from Pula and has residency there, despite the fact that he lives with his wife and children in Zagreb. When asked by reporters on Wednesday where he lived, Grbin evaded the question by saying he has been travelling so much that he would like to know the answer to that question himself. Technically, Grbin says, he did not break the rules.

"This benefit is clearly so contentious that it needs to be regulated to quell all the controversy because then the question will not be whether it is ethical but is it legal,” he said.

Because he declared himself as living at two separate addresses, taxpayers partially covered the costs of an apartment, utilities, and an away-from-home living allowance for Grbin. In a year, that amounted to almost 45 thousand kuna.

Taxpayers did the same for Arsen Bauk, who is registered as a resident of Brač. Bauk and Grbin are taking even more heat from the HDZ because of their very vocal objections to a similar situation involving Zvonimir Frka Petešić, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković’s chief of staff. Frka Petešić was awarded the right to use a government-owned apartment in downtown Zagreb. The government also covered the costs of renovating the apartment, according to media reports.

The We Can! party says MPs from other cities should be compensated only for real costs.

“If you have to go by car, you have some travel expenses, and you should be compensated for the real travel expenses. These fees cannot be just another way to earn extra money,” said We Can! MP Sandra Benčić from the Green-Leftist Bloc.

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