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STA Supervisor Cerjak: One of the Contracts Was Concluded to the Detriment of STA; the Resulting Economic Damage Amounts to at Least a Quarter of a Million Euros!

Radovan Cerjak, a member of the STA Supervisory Board, told Nova24TV that ever since he joined the Slovenian Press Agency (Slovenska tiskovna agencija – referred to as STA) Supervisory Board in October last year, he has had a feeling that he is being blocked from supervision. “When I requested certain documents on several occasions, there was always a thousand and one problems, which meant that I could not get the said documents. For example, I once asked to see the employment contract of the director of the company, Mr. Bojan Veselinovič. The contract was handed to us at the meeting of the Supervisory Board, and after a minute or two, it was snatched from my hands. A similar thing happened with the price list.” Cerjak pointed out that supervision cannot be done this way.

Let’s recap. The newspaper Večer (evening) reported that there was a surprising complication at Tuesday’s meeting of the STA Supervisory Board. During the meeting, at the initiative of a member of the Supervisory Board, Radovan Cerjak, the members were able to inspect the contract that the STA has concluded with Dnevnik, which is marked a business secret. One copy of the document was prepared for each of the members, and Cerjak allegedly put the document in his briefcase when he got it and then left the meeting early. This supposedly happened before Prime Minister Janez Janša called on the STA director Bojan Veselinovič to resign. Janša wrote that it was time for the director, who is the political tool of the far left, to step down and be held accountable for his illegal actions and enable STA to work and develop normally.

Director of the Government Communication Office (Urad Vlade Republike Slovenije za komuniciranje – referred to as UKOM), Uroš Urbanija, as a guest on the first programme of Ratio Slovenia, revealed that UKOM had noticed an unusual financial calculation of public service costs last year already. The monthly reports sent by director Veselinovič to UKOM supposedly revealed that he repeatedly shows about 5 thousand euros more costs per month than he receives funds. Veselinovič also allegedly prevented the supervisors from inspecting key documents, thus making it impossible to control the rational use of public funds of the agency.

Radovan Cerjak, a member of the STA Supervisory Board, said on the show Tema dneva (Topic of the Day) that ever since he joined the STA Supervisory Board (in October last year), he has had a feeling that he is being blocked from supervision. Cerjak added that in order to be able to supervise anything, you need to have access to the necessary materials so that you can go over things, study them, and then things can be discussed in an argumentative manner. In connection with the contracts, as reported by Večer, Cerjak said that he demanded that the contracts be handed over to him before the meeting of the Supervisory Board so that he could review them like the other supervisors did, which would also allow them to have a reasoned discussion. Namely, certain media reports appeared, which stated that the Sta favours some subscribers, and Cerjak wanted to check whether that was true.

The requested documentation was not given to Cerjak beforehand
Fice days before the meeting, Cerjak asked the director of the company to give him the documentation. “I also sent my request to the Chairman of the Supervisory Board to keep him informed about what was going on, and asked him to make sure that we get this documentation. This is my right and, ultimately, my duty in the position I currently hold. I also sent my requests to all of the other members of the Supervisory Board. What followed was a correspondence that lasted until Sunday.” The result was that Cerjak did not receive the documentation. “Instead, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Mladen Terčelj, understood my request as sort of an initiative and put the issue on the agenda. When I saw that what was perceived as my initiative was added to the agenda, I once again demanded that this documentation be given to us before the meeting so that we could discuss this item. I set Friday as the deadline, and of course, nothing happened.”

When the meeting of the Supervisory Board started on Monday, Cerjak said, he demanded that this item be removed from the agenda and that the documentation be provided for the supervisors before the discussion so that they could go over it and get acquainted with the situation, and only then have a discussion about it. “If a document, which is probably quite extensive, is handed to you and then taken away after a minute or two, it is not possible to exercise supervision. Such a document cannot be studied in a minute or two. I was unsuccessful in my proposal. President Terčelj made the matter very procedural, and one of the points was actually added because of my request. But before we began discussing this point, all supervisors were given folders with the contract. I put my folder in my briefcase, got up, and then told everyone that I would only be able to discuss this matter when I have had enough time to study the contract.” Cerjak made it clear that going over the contract is not something that only takes five minutes. “I took two contracts with me, I studied them when, and when I saw the content, it finally became clear to me why it was so difficult for them to hand over this contract.”

The contract was concluded to the detriment of the STA
“As for the content of the contract – after I have had the chance to properly study the contract, I can safely say that this contract was concluded markedly to the detriment of the STA. In my estimation, this contract caused economic damage of at least a quarter of a million euros for the STA.” Regarding further steps, Cerjak stated that he did not want to discuss them for the time being. He did say that he no longer has the contract in question. “I delivered those contracts to the institution or to the addresses, for which I believe are responsible for this kind of thing.” Given that some have hinted at the possible connection and coordination between Cerjak’s and Janša’s move, Cerjak assured everyone that he did not discuss anything about STA with Janša. “I have not met him ever since he became Prime Minister. And Janša certainly has nothing to do with this; this is just a coincidence.”

There is supposedly a special caste at the STA that works in conjunction with the director
“Regarding salaries at the STA, I can say that I was approached by some of the employees, which I will not name, who told me that certain people at STA were supposedly being rewarded, or that there was a special caste that supposedly works in conjunction with the director. I do not know if that is true. This is also why I requested the documentation on the salaries of all employees.” This documentation was also requested by UKOM in September, but the STA did not provide it. Cerjak was told that he could review the documentation, but only on the premises of the STA, without a chance to write anything down or take any photographs. “I do not consider this to be a chance to study the document because I simply cannot remember 80 salaries from two to three years ago. As a supervisor, I have a duty to do my job, in the sense that some control needs to be exercised over the company. You need to know that in this case, I am liable with all my assets. I intend to take this kind of work seriously, and I am taking it seriously. If I am being blocked from doing my job, there is not much I can do about it. And regarding the blocking, I have already informed certain institutions about this, which the supervisors also know. I am publicly urging Mr. Veselinovič to confront me in any studio if he is willing to have an argumentative discussion,” he added.

Nina Žoher

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