The former Agriculture Minister, Sasa Dragin, and eight more people have been detained on suspicion of abuse of office, as a part of Serbia’s drive to root out corruption.Dragin and other eight suspects were arrested on Saturday on suspicion of abuse of office involving illegal sale of mineral fertilizers which resulted in 4.5 million euros damage to the state budged.
The Serbian Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime started questioning the suspects on Sunday.
Amongst those arrested are the owner of CES Mecon, Zvonimir Nikezic, and former heads several state owned enterprises including the former PKB Corporation director, Milan Veljovic.
Sasa Dragin was a deputy secretary for agriculture, water management and forestry at the Vojvodina Executive Board from 2004 until 2007.
He became an environment minister in May 2007 and he was an agriculture, forestry and water management minister from July 2008 until March 2011.
Dragin is the second minister from the previous Democrats-led government who has been arrested so far.
In October, the Socialists-led government arrested the former Environmental Minister, Oliver Dulic, on suspicion that he had illegally issued permits for mounting of optic cables on roads across the country.
The investigation into the case is still ongoing.
Aleksandar Vucic, Serbian Deputy PM in charge of corruption, recently said that he would not relax the fight against corruption even if the cost is new elections.
Serbia held last general elections in May and the new government was formed in July.