MIRO DŽAKULA, THE REAL ESTATE KING: How the Owner of a Small Store Became One of the Richest People in Bosnia and Herzegovina (VIDEO STORY)

Over the past few months, Valter has explored Džakula’s wealth, visiting and documenting a good portion of his real estate empire. Džakula is, in fact, the owner or co-owner of at least fifteen properties in Čapljina, his hometown, as well as along the Adriatic coast and in Zagreb. Among other things, he also owns floors in a newly built villa with a direct view of the Pelješac Bridge.

Written by: Gordan DUHAČEK, Almedin ŠIŠIĆ

During his nearly two-and-a-half mandates at the helm of the state customs (Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina), Miro Džakula became one of the richest individuals in the country. He has come a long way from being the owner of a small store and an accountant in a local company in Čapljina to becoming the real estate king in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

Over the past few months, Valter has explored Džakula’s wealth, visiting and documenting a good portion of his real estate empire. Džakula is, in fact, the owner or co-owner of at least fifteen properties in Čapljina, his hometown, as well as along the Adriatic coast and in Zagreb. Among other things, he also owns floors in a newly built villa with a direct view of the Pelješac Bridge.


Valter possesses the majority of extracts from land registers that prove Džakula’s and his family’s ownership, and our teams have documented and filmed his properties in Čapljina and Komarna.

Given the number of properties and their value, it remains unclear how Džakula, with the salary of a director of the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina, came into the opportunity to invest so abundantly in all his villas, apartments, and condos.

Photo: Miro Džakula during his directorship at the Indirect Taxation Authority (UIO)

It’s worth noting that his almost two-and-a-half mandates at the helm of the UIO were marked by numerous scandals and affairs, among which one of the largest was the arrest of Jelena Majstorović, former head of the Smuggling Prevention Group of the Regional UIO Office in Banja Luka, who was a long-time intimate and closest associate of Džakula, whose career he greatly promoted. It’s remembered that Majstorović and her group were arrested in the SIPA operation Brend 4 in December 2022. She is suspected of “associating with a criminal group” together with her associates (so-called black-shirts), and the public eagerly awaits the completion of the investigation by the BiH Prosecutor’s Office and the indictment.

For a full 11 and a half years, Džakula headed the state customs, which is institutionally considered the “golden hen”, through which hundreds of millions of BAM pass. Throughout all that time, the customs were under the full control of Dragan Čović and his coalition partner Milorad Dodik and the SNSD party. Džakula’s real estate empire, acquired during that time, shows that his puppet role paid off handsomely.

“Miro Džakula was a member of the SDP of Bosnia and Herzegovina about twenty years ago. He was the owner of a small grocery store that sold food products, and he also worked in a private company in accounting”, says a well-informed witness from Čapljina, whose identity we’ve protected.

Describing him as a “low-key person”, the witness, who speaks about everything in our video story, notes that Džakula was employed in the Indirect Taxation Authority in Mostar along the SDP’s lines, and the secret to the longevity of his tenure at the top of the UIO is seen in the fact that “he was the candidate of the SNSD in Banja Luka, of the SDA in Sarajevo, and of the HDZ in Herzegovina”.

“Čapljina residents say that Miro Džakula is one of the richest people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and there’s talk around town that he owns 11 apartments in Čapljina alone, as well as two apartments and commercial space in Zagreb, an apartment and commercial space in Mostar. It’s also said that he has a house in Hvar in the village of Vrbovsko, and we can confirm that he has a house in the municipality of Komarna in Croatia. In Čapljina, he has recently bought several plots of land and owns a large family house. He has also bought houses nearby. Most properties are registered in the name of a relative, child, or friend”, reveals a protected witness of Valter, who is otherwise well acquainted with the situation in Čapljina.

Photo: Valter’s protected witness

“Miro Džakula has arranged things well for his family. His children, daughters-in-law, and sons-in-law work in state institutions”, he says, adding, “It’s known to the people of Čapljina that the Džakula family has seven or eight high-class vehicles”.

“The case of the Kramar company from Ljubuški is mentioned, which allegedly lent €350,000 to Džakula for the purchase of some space in Zagreb. When the owner asked for the money back, Džakula said he thought it was for coffee and sent them an inspection. Allegedly, they had to pay a hefty fine”, says a witness of Valter.

Kramar did not comment on any of this. They did not respond to the questions we sent them by email regarding their relationship and business dealings with the former director of the UIO BiH. They only later told us in a phone call that they would respond to the email if they wished. However, the responses did not come until the conclusion of this story.

“Miro Džakula, along with his associates, has damaged the state for tens of millions of BAM, and we can only guess at his wealth. The fact is that Džakula has a lot of money today and he invests it in real estate”, concludes our protected witness.


The extent and manner of Džakula’s real estate investments are evidenced by the land registry extracts in Valter’s possession. In his own name in the Municipality of Slivno, in the village of Komarna, he co-owns two plots of land (pastures) measuring 309 and 328 square meters. He shares the co-ownership equally with Dragan Knežević.

Miro Džakula and Dragan Knežević are also listed as co-owners of one-fifth of a residential building measuring 118 square meters in Komarna.

Komarna is an idyllic place on the Adriatic coast, with around 150 permanent residents. However, it is becoming increasingly popular among tourists because it now offers a spectacular view of the Pelješac Bridge. This bridge can be seen from Džakula’s apartment in this newly built villa, where the surname “Džakula” on the mailbox is not far from the surname “Knežević”. In fact, it’s right next to it.

Once again, the Knežević family, who are closely connected to Džakula, as confirmed by witnesses on the ground for Valter. This is a family that co-owns a construction company in Čapljina called DD Graditeljstvo Ltd. Dragan Knežević is a co-owner of the company.

Džakula, Dragan Knežević, Božo Knežević (director of DD Graditeljstvo Ltd.), Snježana Knežević, and others are also listed as co-owners of a plot of land measuring 111 square meters, with a house measuring 64 square meters.

Likewise, there is the largest property of all in Komarna, a residential one measuring 218 square meters, of which Džakula owns one-fifth (approximately 44 square meters), which could serve as a decent vacation apartment for rental purposes. Naturally, Dragan Knežević is also a co-owner.

Photo: From Džakula’s luxurious apartment in Komarna, the Pelješac Bridge is visible in close proximity.

In response to our questions about business relationships with Džakula and joint properties that we sent via email, Dragan Knežević, co-owner of Graditeljstvo, responds that he and Džakula are “not business partners”, stating everything that is already known to us and documented, including that they are co-owners of 1/6 of a house in Komarna.

“The residential house has been under construction since 2009 and has not yet reached the phase of condominium conversion. We are co-owners of a building plot of 320 square meters in a ratio of 1/2, as visible in the land registry that you possess, where nothing controversial can be seen. We are not business partners but co-owners of the property”, replied Dragan Knežević, thus confirming our claims.

Knežević further states that Graditeljstvo Ltd. is a joint-stock company and that he is a co-owner (Darko Matić being the other, editor’s note), stating that Džakula is neither “owner, co-owner, shareholder, nor buyer of apartments in their buildings”, and threatening Valter that if we publish different information, they will respond “according to the law”.

Perhaps Miro Džakula is not the formal buyer, as he bought the apartments in those buildings for his children – and they are registered under family members. Among other things, the buildings you see were built by Knežević’s Graditeljstvo.

In Čapljina, Miro Džakula is also registered as the owner of a house measuring 102 square meters and a yard of 236 square meters, as well as the owner of a field measuring 2,340 square meters. His son, Ivo Džakula, owns a commercial space of 35 square meters in Čapljina.

This is only a part of Džakula’s real estate empire, the part we managed to document with land registry extracts. But this is far from the end, as all our witnesses mention a house in Hvar and two apartments in Zagreb. It is not known to whom these properties are registered. In addition to all these villas, apartments, houses, and condos, Džakula also owns commercial spaces, and his family’s ownership also includes his son’s apartment in Mostar.

By rough estimates, Džakula is now worth around 50 million BAM.

Over several weeks, Valter tried repeatedly to contact Miro Džakula, sending him questions via email and calling the available phone numbers, but he ignored every attempt to hear his side of the story. Finally, an unknown voice answered our last available phone number, claiming not to be Miro Džakula and refusing to say anything.


In Čapljina, this longtime director of state customs (was) in good relations with the longtime HDZ mayor, Smiljan Vidić. Local political opponents have been accusing Vidić of corruption and favouritism for years, and finally, in January of this year, an indictment against him was confirmed.

“The indictment accuses Vidić and Šimović of abusing their official positions and powers as officials in the FBiH from March 2011 to January 2015, in the municipality of Čapljina”, stated the Prosecutor’s Office of HNK. Vidić is charged with causing damage to the Municipality of Čapljina to the tune of one million BAM.

Džakula has not yet faced such problems. In Čapljina, he buys land and builds houses, expanding, as we mentioned, to the Adriatic coast (Komarna, Vrboska), and he also has residences in Mostar and Zagreb. A woman from Čapljina is hired who regularly travels to Zagreb to clean Džakula’s apartments, which, according to witnesses, are not in his name. Therefore, we have not been able to locate them in recent months.

It is worth noting that a group of SIPA inspectors has been investigating Džakula’s businesses for years and has submitted at least four criminal reports (on four different cases) to the BiH Prosecutor’s Office. In response to our questions, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that “based on the reports, several cases have been formed in which Džakula is a reported person”, but…

“In some cases, negative prosecutorial decisions have been made, and some cases are in the verification stage of the allegations from the report, and after the prosecutorial decisions are made, more details will be announced. Due to the protection of the interests of the cases on which the prosecution is working, we cannot speak about details at this time”, stated the BiH Prosecutor’s Office in response to Valter.

Photo: Facsimile of the response from the BiH Prosecutor’s Office

In other words, none of the reports against Džakula have been prosecuted so far, nor does the prosecution seem overly concerned about the origin of Džakula’s wealth. To this day, every single report – some filed years ago – has gathered dust somewhere at the bottom of the prosecution’s drawers.

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the strong connections and networks that Džakula has been weaving for years within the OSA, SIPA, and the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, as Valter has written about on several occasions.

Former Chief State Prosecutor Gordana Tadić, aligned with the HDZ, long shielded Džakula, along with former SIPA deputy director Đuro Knežević. Many investigations were obstructed, and scandals were covered up. It was a network that ensnared all attempts to prosecute the murky dealings and corruption of Miro Džakula. Knežević thwarted all investigations against Džakula and directed them in the wrong direction.

Photo: Đuro Knežević, longtime associate of Džakula in SIPA

Such untouchable status, with the immense potential offered by the position of director of state customs, enabled Džakula to amass enormous wealth.

Today, neither Gordana Tadić nor Đuro Knežević are present, but their remnants remain, allowing Džakula to remain legally untouchable. The media have repeatedly reported on the protection provided to him by state prosecutor Vedrana Mijović (daughter of former SNSD parliament member Slavko Jovičić Slavuj, editor’s note), who, according to the same reports, along with her husband Danko, has purchased five properties over 13 years, some of which were not reported to the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (VSTV).

According to the same reports, Mijović, while working in the Department for Corruption, received criminal reports against Džakula, but none were prosecuted; instead, she decided not to conduct an investigation.

Mijović herself was under the protection of Milan Tegeltija, at that time the president of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (VSTV) of BiH, as well as then-Chief State Prosecutor Gordana Tadić, while Tegeltija and Džakula maintained close relationships. Even today, they can be seen meeting in restaurants in Banja Luka.

Photo: Prosecutor Vedrana Mijović

Sources from Valter within the BiH Prosecutor’s Office indicate that Gordana Tadić’s modus operandi in the case of receiving a report against Džakula was to pass the case into the hands of someone she controlled, such as prosecutor Mijović. The manual pre-signing of cases during Gordana Tadić’s tenure had become so widespread that it could no longer be technically concealed, as a significant number of cases were manipulated to favour compliant prosecutors and judges. After all, this is why Gordana Tadić fell.


Even today, Miro Džakula retains significant influence in the state judiciary because nothing was left to chance. To ensure that cases in which he or the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) are involved are decided in their favour, Džakula has been intertwined with Judge Dragic Miletić of the BiH Court for years, whom he employed at least three family members in SIPA. Valter reported on this as well.

As a result, some honourable individuals have been left without careers or jobs, such as former chief investigator of SIPA Nikica Gligorić, and protected corruption whistleblower Emir Mešić. His attempt to report corrupt acts by Džakula’s close associate Jelena Majstorović, and the final judgment in that case by Judge Miletić, left him abandoned on the streets.

“It is undoubtedly a conflict between two systems: on one hand, we have the system of fighting corruption and seeking justice, a system in which whistleblowers have their role, and on the other hand, there is a system of empowering and encouraging corruption. Political exponents, directors of public institutions and agencies, are the executors of corruption because they have clear orders from their political patrons to engage in corruption for personal gain and for the benefit of certain political groups and selected families. In the end, all judicial and security institutions turn against you as a corruption whistleblower, you have no support”, says Emir Mešić, a whistleblower from SIPA to Valter.

He also questions where such wealth comes from for directors of various institutions in BiH, in this case, the enormous wealth of the former director of SIPA.

“Where does such wealth come from with such a salary? This should be investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office, but they are in cahoots with them, and all they do is assist corruption”, Mešić concludes.

Mešić: Where does the wealth of the former director of SIPA come from?

The relationship between Džakula and Jelena Majstorović was special. Džakula arranged jobs for Jelena and her daughter Jana in SIPA, as we have already documented, as well as how he generally favoured her career. Majstorović then sued our editor-in-chief and definitively lost the case in her hometown of Prnjavor.

At the end of December 2022, she was arrested in a SIPA operation in Banja Luka and is charged with multiple criminal offences related to organized crime. Despite all this happening right under his nose, after leaving SIPA, Džakula was considered for the position of director of Elektroprivreda “Herceg-Bosna”.

Although suspended, Jelena Majstorović still wields significant influence in SIPA and in the Anti-Smuggling Group itself. Several times, the new director of SIPA, Zoran Tegeltija, has received her in his office, as she attempts to approach Tegeltija after Džakula’s departure into history. Valter has also investigated her role in previous stories and documented her wealth, mostly in real estate, with witness statements.

Srđan Blagovčanin, president of the Board of Transparency International (TI) Bosnia and Herzegovina, who also speaks about all this in our film, believes that “it would be a minimum requirement for the competent authorities, especially the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to investigate the allegations published by Valter”.

“This is an either-or situation. Either the Valter portal should bear the consequences if what you publish is not true, or former SIPA director Miro Džakula should bear the consequences in terms of criminal prosecution, i.e., be called to account to prove the origin of his property”, Blagovčanin believes.

Blagovčanin: We have already had major scandals associated with the UIO.

Reflecting on “the range of functions performed by the UIO”, Blagovčanin warns that it represents an extremely risky institution for corruption.

“We have already had major scandals associated with the UIO. Remember the Pandora operation, which was proclaimed the largest of its kind a decade ago and ended with only one person sentenced to minimal prison time. We had whistleblowers from the UIO pointing out irregularities, but even those processes were not concluded nor received appropriate institutional response, and the whistleblowers were harassed and persecuted”, he recalls, among other things, Blagovčanin.

After investigating this story for months, we encountered numerous witnesses, both named and unnamed claims, embittered “contemporaries” of Džakula’s career advancement, but we only considered and treated what we managed to prove and document through land registry extracts, recordings, and public testimonies.

In all of this, one thing is common, and only one question arises after everything: how is it possible that during his 11 and a half years at the helm of state customs, Miro Džakula amassed public and visible wealth without the rule of law ever questioning how he managed that with the salary of a state customs director?

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