A company owned by a Serbian cabinet minister’s father has been given a permit to produce weapons, the Nedeljnik weekly said in its latest issue.
The United BG company, owned by Branko Stefanovic, father of the Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, has obtained a weapons production permit from the Defence Ministry on April 9. The permit is valid for one year.
Nedeljnik said that Branko Stefanovic became known to the public as an arms trader and had nothing to do with the production of arms and military equipment. It is now listed in the Defense Ministry Register of Producers of Arms and Military Equipment as the 47th of 50 companies on the register. The register was published on the Defence Ministry’s web site.
No information is available on the type of weapons to be produced by Branko Stefanovic’s company, nor did the Defence Ministry specify whether United BG met all the criteria required for an arms production permit.
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The permit also gives Stefanovic senior and all the employees of United BG access to classified information. Access to that information was given in a decision taken by the Council for National Security, Nedeljnik said and added that the Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic is secretary of the Council.
“For a company to apply for a permit to produce weapons and military equipment, it must include a security certificate…The law is very basic in terms of security controls; it is also important that security certificates be issued by the Office of the National Security Council, not just the National Security Council, and again the Office of the Council should, by nature of things, act, professional, impartial body, deciding on the basis of objective criteria, not on the basis of political criteria,” says Katarina Djokic of the “BCBP”.
Is there a conflict of interest?
N1 sent a request to the Office of the Security Council for an evaluation of the criteria used for the issuance of the security certificate to the company of Branko Stefanovic but the Council is yet to respond. Doubts about a possible conflict of interest were also submitted to the cabinet of the Interior Ministry, which has not commented on the matter.
N1 also asked Branko Stefanovic the same question but his response was: “Don’t bother me, you are writing nonsense. I’m not going to comment.”
This post is also available in: Italiano