Special court acquits agriculture minister

The court has acquitted Agriculture Minister Goran Knežević of charges that he incurred damages worth RSD 150mn to the state while he was a Zrenjanin mayor.

Source: Beta

Special Court Judge Maja Kovačević acquitted another 18 defendants as well, including former Zrenjanin town officials who were accused of malversations with the building plots from 2006 until 2008 and of rigging tenders.

The only defendant who was found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison is Zrenjanin Urbanism Department Head Nikola Halas who ordered that a land be leased to Bojan Selimović and Branko Savković for 99 years. Selimović and Savković were also charged but Selimović died in the meantime.

A document incriminating Halas was in the end signed by Knežević.

Then Assistant Mayor for Agriculture Ivan Dević, former town Finance Department Chief David Dimkić, Milorad Ponoćko, Božidar Đurica, Zrenjanin Directorate for Construction’s Laslo Fuks, former Zrenjanin Waterworks and Sewerage public company Director Bratislav Tomić, Zrenjanin Tourist Organization Director Milan Milošev, lawyer Đorđe Matić and owners and associates of Gvozden security firm Uglješa Grgur, Marijana Šarenac and Vladan Racić.

Novi Sad businessman Mile Unčanin, owner of several transportation companies Mile Jerković, Zrenjanin entrepreneurs Milorad Smiljković, Mladen Živković, Miloš Baždar, Montenegrin businessman Ranko Babović and Belgrade investor Branko Savković also stood trial.

The Organized Prosecution called on the court to find the defendants guilty and sentence them to jail sentences ranging from two to six years in prison.

The agriculture minister told daily Press recently that he expected an acquittal. He stressed in the closing argument that the trial was organized by the Democratic Party (DS).

His defense attorney said in the closing argument that Knežević should be acquitted and that the prosecution had failed to prove the allegations.

Knežević was a DS official until his arrest in October 2008 but he then joined the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS).


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