Corruption “Humongous” in Bosnia

Corruption in Bosnia is of “humongous proportions” and the governments’ anti-corruption efforts are “disappointing,” the top international envoy to Sarajevo has said.

Bosnia’s High Representative Miroslav Lajcak has said that all aspects of corruption – including bribery, fraud, nepotism, tax evasion and all others – are present in the country.

Lajcak and other senior international and local officials spoke at a conference which was held in the Parliament building in Sarajevo on Thursday, marking international anti-corruption day on December 9.

Lajcak also said that the government’s anti-corruption efforts have been “disappointing.” Bosnian authorities adopted the Anti-corruption strategy in 2006 but it was never implemented.

The European Commission’s critical Progress Report for Bosnia, presented last month, identified widespread corruption as one of the key problems in the country. In addition, the leading global anti-corruption watchdog organisation, Transparency International, has recently published its annual report which showed Bosnia as the most corrupt country in the region.

Transparency International’s executive director in Bosnia, Srdjan Blagovcanin, stressed that Bosnia suffers from the “most dangerous aspects of corruption” which includes political corruption, corruption in privatisation and public procurement procedures.

“It is of an outmost importance that (local) institutions take a leading role and give a positive example,” Lajcak said. He especially criticised the government of the Serb-dominated entity of Republika Srpska, which for months ignored and avoided requests from the State Investigation and Protection Agency, for documentation related to disputed construction projects.

Deputy Chairman of the state House of Representatives, Beriz Belkic, told the conference that the Bosnian parliament is ready to establish legal mechanisms and instruments to fight against corruption.

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