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UKOM head files criminal complaint against NGO representative and lawyer

Due to a false criminal complaint against the director of the Government Communication Office of the Republic of Slovenia, Uroš Urbanija, M.Sc., criminal charges were filed against Katarina Bervar Sternad and Nataša Pirc Musar on the 9th of June 2021.

Since Katarina Bervar Sternad and Nataša Pirc Musar, who filed a criminal complaint against the director of the Government Communication Office of the Republic of Slovenia, Uroš Urbanija, M.Sc., in the case of the alleged aggrieved party – the Slovenian Press Agency (Slovenska tiskovna agencija – hereinafter referred to as the STA), knew that the criminal complaint they were filing did not constitute for a criminal offence, a criminal complaint has been filed against them on the 9th of June 2021, due to their false criminal complaint under the first paragraph of Article 283 of the Criminal Code.

In the false criminal complaint dated the 17th of May 2021, Katarina Bervar Strnad and Nataša Pirc Musar accused the director of the Government Communication Office, Uroš Urbanija, M.Sc., of abusing his position, crossing the line when it comes to his official rights, and waving his official duty, despite the fact that, as university law graduates, they know from the legal regulations of the Republic of Slovenia and the documents submitted as evidence, that the actions because of which the complaint of the 17th of May 2021 against Uroš Urbanija, M.Sc., was filed, do not constitute for a crime.

A criminal complaint with similar allegations against the director of the Government Communication Office (Urad Vlade Republike Slovenije za komuniciranje – hereinafter referred to as UKOM), Uroš Urbanija, M.Sc., was already filed by the Slovenian Journalists’ Union in December 2020. The criminal complaint was rejected, as the District State Prosecutor’s Office in Ljubljana found that in his work, related to the STA, Uroš Urbanija, M.Sc., did not commit any acts that could be officially prosecuted.

As of the 1st of January 2021, UKOM is no longer in any legal relationship with the STA, on the basis of which it could transfer funds to the STA. The legal basis, which was the reason why UKOM was able to distribute funds for the provision of public service to the STA, was the annual contract between UKOM and STA on the provision of public service. As, despite numerous calls from UKOM for another public service contract between the STA and UKOM for 2021, the STA did not express any interest in actually signing the contract, UKOM did not have the legal basis for the payment of the funds to the STA. Article 66 of the Act Determining Intervention Measures to Assist in Mitigating the Consequences of the Second Wave of COVID-19 Epidemic, the so-called Seventh Anti-Corona Legislative Package, also does not provide a sufficient basis for UKOM to pay the STA, as it does not bind UKOM to allocate funds for the provision of public service to the STA.

Article 66 of the Seventh Anti-Corona Legislative Package stipulates, inter alia, that funds for the provision of the STA public service in 2021 should be provided in accordance with the STA Business Plan for 2021. The STA business plan for 2021, adopted by the STA, states that the STA obtains funds for the provision of public service under the Slovenian Press Agency Act, on the basis of an annual contract between the founder and the STA, and that the conditions for payment of the compensation, its use, deadlines and method of payment and requirements related to the company’s reporting on costs related to public service services, are specified in the annual public service contract with the STA.

In view of the above, the director of UKOM has repeatedly called on the STA director Veselinovič to sign a new contract, but unfortunately, the director is evidently violating the Slovenian Press Agency Act by not performing the public service, as well as the Seventh Anti-Corona Legislative Package, and after all, his own business plan for 2021 as well.

Gov.si

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