The Infoveza portal continues to publish irregularities related to the landfill in the Ramići settlement in Banja Luka. This time, our editorial office is in possession of documentation that proves that the managers of DEPOT, intentionally or not, damaged this company for more than one million convertible marks. It all started with the signing of a contract for the rehabilitation of the landfill, the construction of a degassing system and the construction of a sanitary cassette with the companies Eko – Euro team from Banjaluka of the controversial businessman Draško Ilić and the company Tekton-Termoklima. The deal concluded at the end of 2013, that is, at the beginning of 2014, was worth over 3.25 million KM.
The problems started right at the beginning when DEP-OT asked the contractor three times in writing to start the work and submit a dynamic plan of activities. As the executor did not respond to the summons, nor did he comment on this issue, they set a deadline of April 23 to start the work. However, they did not receive any response from the Eko-Euro team and the executor did not start the works, and as they stated at the time from DEPOT, they did not show any intention to start the works according to the signed contract. On April 25, 2014, the supervisory authority (Institute for Construction “IG”) informed that the contractor had not set up the construction site or started the work and that there are no workers or machines on site.
On April 28, 2014, DEP-OT sent a proposal to terminate the contract and they asked for the opinion and approval of the competent institutions. On the same day, they were informed that the proposal had been forwarded to the World Bank (to which USAID entrusted the implementation of the project), and it should also be noted that the deadline for the completion of the works was May 2, 2014.
On April 29, DEPOT’s supervisory board passed a conclusion ordering the company’s management to take all necessary actions in favour of the company, in connection with the termination of the contract. As they did not have an answer from the executor of the work, nor did they have any comments from the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology (PMU) and the World Bank on their proposal to terminate the contract, and considering that they had to follow the conclusion of the supervisory board, they sent information on the termination of the employment contract for the executor of JV Eko Euro Team-His-Tekton-Termoklima.
Here it is important to point out that at the meetings organized to solve the problem of contract implementation, the representatives of the competent ministry and the World Bank always emphasized that the parties to the contract are DEP-OT and JV Eko Euro team-Tekton-Termoklima, so the responsibility for the decision was in the hands of DEPOT as a contracting party.
Then they asked the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction, and Ecology oRS and the World Bank to help them with legal interpretation and in connection with the activation of the contractor’s guarantee as a legal instrument against the executor who does not implement the contract. They did not receive any response from the bank and received a response from the ministry that it does not have jurisdiction for legal interpretation services.
Finally, at the meeting held on May 28, 2014, the company’s supervisory board passed resolution number 011-830/14, to take all the necessary actions to activate business security.
For DEP-OT, the most important thing was to continue the procedure for the selection of a new contractor and to avoid additional postponement of the works, because the work season was in progress. In a telephone conversation with a representative of the World Bank, Kerlet, told us that there are two options for continuing the procedure: to invite a new offer under the abbreviated procedure (NCB) or to go to the second-best bidder.
Both proposals were considered at the meeting of the company’s supervisory board, and a decision was made to go for a new call for tenders under the shortened procedure (NCB), which was done, and the new contractor did the work in accordance with the project and the contract.
Here we come to the most important part of the story, which is that the then director of DEPOT, Novo Grujić, activated the contractor’s guarantee just two days before the deadline defined by the contract, and thus the Eko-Euro team was charged over 650 thousand marks in “penalty”. However, since the guarantee was activated two days earlier, the Eko – Euro team appealed and won a verdict in the proceedings before the District Court in Banja Luka!
The District Court in Banja Luka ruled that “DEPOT” must pay 650,000 KM in principal, 600,000 KM in interest and 20,000 KM in court costs, that is, close to 1.2 million marks, which was reported by the media in 2019.
“Yes, “Eko – Euro team” won that verdict, but we appealed against it and we expect a new verdict that will be in our favour. Justice is slow, but attainable, and I think that in this case, it is unquestionable and that the first-instance verdict will be overturned”, the former director of “DEPOT”, Novo Grujić, told Moja Banjaluka.
However, it will quickly turn out that Grujić was deceiving the public and that DEP-OT lost 1.2 million of public money primarily thanks to him.
They had no answer to our question of why Novo Grujić withdrew the bank guarantee to the detriment of Eko – Euro team a few days before the deadline defined by the contract and thus enabled this company to win DEP-OT in court.
Interestingly, there was silence in DEPOT even when we sent them an inquiry as to whether the acting director, Željko Savić, filed a criminal complaint against the former director Nova Grujić, considering that the aforementioned damaged the company, which we described in detail in the text Serial DEP- OT: Dirty money in the regional dump – Part II.
Written by: Stefan Blagić