Police looking into dealings of Sarajevo Airport’s managment
The federal police in Bosnia and Herzegovina is investigating various business dealings made by the management of Sarajevo Airport, headed by CEO Ivica Veličan, involving unlawful employment, acquisition of goods without necessary tender procedures, opening of new duty free areas without permits and nepotism. The Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nermin Nikšić, admits there is an ongoing investigation linked to both Mr. Veličan and his son, Darjan Veličan, who is also employed at the airport. “I have been asked by the police to hand over documents regarding the airport’s business operations”, the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Veličan, who is a member of the ruling Social Democratic Party (SDP), was named as Sarajevo Airport’s CEO in the summer of 2011 while he was still Croatia Airlines’ country manager for Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, Mr. Veličan served at both positions for several months leading to a direct conflict of interest. In addition, the CEO did not meet the needed requirements for the position since he does not possess a university degree. This saw the airport’s Board of Directors swiftly adjust the requirements needed for the top job. Mr. Veličan’s son, Darjan, who was working at the airport’s cargo centre when his father was appointed CEO, is now the airport’s head of marketing. Darjan Veličan is under investigation for his involvement in the robbery of the airport’s cargo facilities and has been linked to several other criminal investigations.
|The family way - Ivica Veličan (left) with son Darjan|
Police is also looking into the purchase of airport vehicles without necessary tender procedures which are required by law. During Mr. Veličan’s two and a half year reign, an additional fifty staff members have been employed, many of which are members of the SDP, including a close relative of Damir Hadžić who is the Minister for Communications and Transport. While the airport has seen its passenger numbers surge over the past few years its revenue has declined despite the opening of new duty free areas and even a betting booth in the middle of the passenger terminal. The current management has cancelled the expansion of Sarajevo Airport’s terminal, deciding not to use up a 25 million euro loan, provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. At the time, Mr. Veličan said the loan was taken out by the former management with the aim to destroy the airport.