Nova24TV English

Slovenian News In ENGLISH

Peter Jančič: Bobnar Is Not Staying Silent, What Will Golob’s Revenge Look Like? And Then There Is Čeferin, Too

Minister of the Interior Tatjana Bobnar and the chief of Police, Boštjan Lindav, surprised everyone with their recent actions. After Prime Minister Robert Golob decided to get even with them, Bobnar did not bow down and give up. She was not and is not staying silent. I criticised her before, when she was making political changes. But now she is courageous. Until now, Golob and the group of people around him have justified the sacking of people in state bodies, sub-systems, state enterprises and the media by claiming they were fighting the dark forces that were defeated in the elections.

Using the logic that the losers must stay quiet, he silenced the victims of political purges. Many did not dare to say a single word. But he made a serious mistake with Bobnar and Lindav. They are not the losers of the elections. And they are not staying silent. At least not completely. This is why Robert Golob and his close associates are in serious trouble, on several fronts.

Is it Milović who cheated, or is it Aleksander Čeferin and Nada Drobne Popovič?

Lindav and Bobnar have revealed that a convict helped the head of the government set up his own security service, which is something the Prime Minister concealed from the public and from the National Assembly. Opposition MP Zvonko Černač from the Slovenian Democratic Party (Slovenska demokratska stranka – SDS) even estimated that the Prime Minister had lied to the National Assembly. He pointed out on the show “Tarča” (Target) on national television that the Prime Minister was working with a person who had been sentenced to two years in prison just last year, and, as is evident from the letter that Lindav sent, this person said on the 31st of May this year that he or she is in charge of the protection of the Prime Minister – even though just one month earlier, the Prime Minister publicly claimed in the National Assembly that he had had nothing to do with the person in question. “And it is absolutely frightening that this person who is supposedly in charge of the Prime Minister’s protection has nothing to do with the Prime Minister’s Office and is not employed there,” Černač also pointed out.

However, Golob had good reasons for hiding who was helping him. If it became known that a convicted person was helping set state policy, this would embarrass the whole country, and on top of that, now that it has become known who is working for him, Golob is in a position of conflict with a number of very important individuals who helped put him in power.

For example, with the Čeferin family of lawyers and the head of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) himself, Aleksander Čeferin, and with the boss of Petrol, Nada Drobne Popovič … As Lindav revealed in his report on political pressures, the Prime Minister was assisted in setting up a security service in the General Secretariat of the Government by Miloš Njegoslav Milović, who decades ago worked as a security guard for politicians, including Janez Drnovšek, but who later found himself in criminal proceedings and was also convicted of defrauding the state railways in a higher court, but appealed to the Supreme Court. At the beginning of last year, he wrote in a lower court about how the reason for the payment for work that did not exist, for which he was under criminal investigation, there was a tacit agreement that this would be the way to repay favours to Aleksander Čeferin, which Nada Drobne Popovič, who was the financier of the railways at the time, allegedly also knew about. Milović was allegedly only a victim of this “background.” He claimed that Nada Drobne Popovič, Aleksander Čeferin, and others had falsified business documents, which is a criminal offence – it is fraud. This is what Milovič claimed in his retrial, which did not end up helping him.

However, all those he mentioned have denied that what Milović claimed was actually happening. Which is quite logical – if it were true, it would mean serious problems for them. Head of the Petrol company, Nada Drobne Popovič, would be let go from the top position in one of the biggest sellers of petroleum products, and Aleksander Čeferin would be let go from the top of the UEFA. Fraudsters cannot be in important positions. Milović was acquitted by a lower court twice, but these rulings were overturned both times by a higher court, which itself convicted Milović the second time. But he appealed to the Supreme Court, where the case is still pending.

The chief of police on managing a convict

As long as these were just the claims of a former security guard who, in order to defend himself against a ruling that convicts him of theft from a state-owned company, writes serious accusations against important individuals, it did not matter much. However, if this man is, in a covert way, an important confidant of Prime Minister Robert Golob, and was in meetings with the top people in the police at the formation of the government, arguing why a special police unit should be created in the General Secretariat of the Government to protect the Prime Minister, then such events can take on other, much more serious dimensions. If Prime Minister Golob trusts Milović so much, and on top of that, even tries to conceal their cooperation, the dilemma is whether what Milović claims might not be true. He has been the victim of fraud by other important citizens. That would be a major scandal. Even at the European level – because it also involves Aleksander Čeferin. But Lindav’s reason for not being okay with Golob bringing Milović to talk to him about the police reorganisation was different than that of the head of the Union of European Football Associations, Aleksander Čeferin, or Nada Drobne Popovič. Namely, the directors-general of the police simply do not discuss the organisation of the police and the protection of important politicians with those who have already been convicted and those who are not employed by the police or any other important state institutions. In no situation. Except with Robert Golob. A lot of things are being done differently now that Golob is in charge. Apparently, it is the streets that are in charge now.

We can only guess what Robert Golob is trying to achieve with the help of Milović, who in the past has tried to help the Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković get out of trouble in shady ways. Officially, Milović has no role and does not exist. If you believe that. The idea that the Prime Minister has gone in a strange direction is reinforced by the fact that Lindav also described how Golob demanded that he and Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar appoint Darko Muženič to the top of the National Bureau of Investigation. Although he and the Interior Minister warned that this should not be done because Muženič was under investigation by the European Prosecutor’s Office for suspected misuse of EU money and should not be appointed until the investigation was over, the Prime Minister insisted on it and even suggested that the European Prosecutor’s Office should be asked to bring the matter to an end as quickly as possible. Among friends. Muženič was appointed Acting Director of the National Bureau of Investigations at the end of July, and the charges against him were dismissed by the European prosecutor’s office last month. Lindav’s report also reveals that Golob also demanded that “something be done” with the Director of the Police Directorate “in his area”. He was supposedly referring to Evgen Govekar from the Nova Gorica Police Directorate, with whom the largest coalition party, the Freedom Movement (Gibanje Svoboda), is apparently not satisfied. The fact that something went wrong was further revealed by the fact that the Minister of the Interior, Tatjana Bobnar, in her report on political pressures, drew the attention of the Prime Minister to a text message she received on the 29th of October from Vesna Vuković, a former journalist of the “Necenzurirano” web portal (Uncensored), who is now the Freedom Movement’s main PR representative, that they had discovered that some posters of the Freedom Movement had been torn, but that they did not know whether to report it to the police “because they know who runs the Nova Gorica Police Directorate.”

He is not “ours,” and there are no guarantees that he will willingly carry out the party’s instructions, was Vuković’s actual message.

Is the goal here to prevent any investigations of Golob and his “business practices”?

This shows quite clearly that the fact that Golob is head of the government is giving his party an advantage in the repressive apparatus, but it cannot be ruled out that the aim is also to block the continuation of the investigation into Golob’s past conduct in the state-owned energy company Gen-I, where he held a very high position. And he is trying to achieve that by appointing the people he wants to other high positions. Such behaviour may serve an additional goal, which is also not new for the country: future abuses of the opposition, especially the Slovenian Democratic Party, which has already been prevented by Golob and the government coalition in parliament from exercising the usual opposition control of the ruling parties. Golob is also being assisted in this by the New Slovenia party (Nova Slovenija), headed by Matej Tonin.

Namely, the largest opposition party by far does not head the Commission for Public Finance Control or the Intelligence Commission. The government coalition has bypassed the election results to put members of the small New Slovenia party at the top of both control commissions, thus getting rid of the “annoying” and several times bigger Slovenian Democratic Party. This is undemocratic and a clear abuse of power. By blocking the SDS party, they have prevented the National Assembly from scrutinising Golob’s privatisation of the state-owned Gen-I energy company, from unravelling the dilemmas of why he transferred 103,000 euros from the state-owned Gen-I to a company founded and run by Vesna Vuković in the past, as well as all the strange changes and reorganisations at the top of the police force, which were the direct demands of Robert Golob, as has now been revealed by the Minister of the Interior, Tatjana Bobnar, and by the Acting Director-General of the Police, Boštjan Lindav. Why the NSi President Matej Tonin accepted the game of thwarting the SDS party is not entirely clear. The explanation that by doing so, he is stepping out of the shadow of the SDS party and that they are being given positions that, according to the result of the elections, do not belong to them, does not seem as the real reason, and the NSi party may end up in a similar position as Luka Mesec’s the Left party (Levica) in the time of Marjan Šarec’s government, which was a coalition partner of the government in opposition.

Sitting on two chairs at once is risky. You can fall in between. Bobnar’s resignation was logical, because she clearly cannot work with Golob, the head of the government, who is trying to run the ministry without including her. It would have been even better for the goals of the opposition SDS party if Bobnar had persisted and Golob would have had to dismiss her. In that case, the cowardice and the problems of the coalition partners would have been even greater. The coalition is already having a tough time trying to defend the blatantly wrong behaviour of the head of government. But it was already a big surprise that Bobnar and Lindav did not go quietly and with their heads bowed down. The Minister also revealed how Golob had suggested to her that she could regain his trust by sacking someone from the police force whom she had no reason to let go.

The situation in the National Assembly will be much tenser now because the coalition cannot completely silence the opposition with any trade of government parties with the NSi party, and Bobnar can still come back to explain her resignation. SDS party MP Žan Mahnič is already waiting for Prime Minister Golob with a parliamentary question to further explain why he concealed Milovič’s role in setting up a special security service for Golob last month, and the “politicisation of the police” he is carrying out by dismissing Bobnar. Mahnič will also ask Golob why he claimed that he fully supported Bobnar and that there was no conflict in the coalition.

It will not take long before we find out how Golob, who is known for his tempestuous character, will take revenge on Bobnar and Lindav with his party, the media and the coalition.

Peter Jančič 

This column was initially published on Spletničasopis

Share on social media