Special Court not competent in swine flu vaccine case

The Appellate Court has confirmed the Special Court’s decision to declare itself incompetent to try suspects in the swine flue vaccines case.

Source: Tanjug

Former Republic Institute for Health Insurance (RZZO) Director Svetlana Vukajlović and directors of three pharmaceutical companies are charged with abuse of office during the procurement of the vaccines.

The Appellate Court rejected the Organized Crime Prosecution’s appeal and determined that the Higher Court in Belgrade is competent to try Vukajlović and her associates, said Appellate Court Spokeswoman Mirjana Piljić.

The Appellate Court also determined that the Special Department for Organized Crime was not competent to hold the trial since Vukajlović was not appointed by the Serbian government but by the RZZO Board of Directors instead.

The law on organization and competence of the state organs in combat against organized crime is applied to crimes against official duty and accepting bribe when the accused is a person in public office appointed by the Serbian parliament, government, High Judicial Council or the State Prosecutors Council.

It also applies for abuse of office when the financial gain exceeds RSD 200mn and those conditions were not fulfilled in the concrete case, the Appellate Court concluded.

Vukajlović and her associates will in accordance with the court decision stand trial before the Higher Court in Belgrade this fall. The Special Court suspended the trial in June and declared itself incompetent.

The Organized Crime Prosecution indicted Vukajlović, former Jugohemija Director Smiljka Mileusnić-Adžić, Jugohemija farmacija Director Vladimir Gravar and Detap Director Ljubomir Pavićević in late February.

They are accused of illegal purchase of the swine flu vaccines in late 2009 and of incurring damages to the state budget worth EUR 1.25mn. They are all charged with abuse of office and they could get two to 12 years in prison.

According to the indictment, Jugohemija’s offer was chosen as the best one at the public tender for the procurement of the swine flu vaccines in November 2009 even though it did not have an authorization letter from Swiss Novartis company and was not an authorized dealer for Serbia.

Jugohemija farmacija and Detap acted as middlemen in the process and obtained a total of RSD 132mn thanks to the purchase of 855,000 dosages of the vaccine.

All of the accused were released pending trial.

Vukajlović, Gravar and Pavićević were arrested on September 19, 2011 and Mileusnić-Adžić was arrested three months later.


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