Serbian opposition official Marinika Tepic said on Wednesday that a tabloid owner has been given 60 million euro of public money under a deal with the state-owned Telekom Serbia.
Tepic, deputy leader of the Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP), said that the owner of Kurir tabloid daily, Igor Zezelj, had received seven billion Dinars (or 60mln euro) under a new deal with Telekom Serbia which she said was “the latest combination by the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS)”. The “robbery of the year” means that Zezelj has received almost 100 million euro in public money, Tepic said, recalling that Zezelj received 38 million euro under an earlier deal with Telekom.
Tepic warned of a serious risk of possible abuse of the sensitive personal data of hundreds of thousands of people in Serbia.
She showed the media a document which she says is a decision signed by Finance Minister Sinisa Mali on February 11. “It clearly shows that the contract covers the “implementation and maintenance of a central information system for public sector payroll. The main question is who needs this. Didn’t we calculate salaries before Aleksandar Vucic, Vladimir Lucic (CEO of Telekom) and Zezelj?!” she said.
Tepic said the contract states that a group of bidders (Telekom Serbia and Zezelj’s Wireless Media) along with several manufacturers will do minor jobs for which they have been given the money. She added that the other companies in the deal are Telekom’s sister company MTS and Atos, which had dealings with Asseco, a company whose branch office was once headed by the prime minister’s brother.
Wireless Media responded later in the day saying that all the information about the latest deal with Telekom Serbia was published on the government’s public procurement web portal. In its response sent to N1, the company said that everything that Tepic said earlier was “lies and sensationalist accusations running counter to publicly available documents and facts”.
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