The case of Duško Knežević could get a different epilogue from previous, similar affairs, which only gather spider webs and dust in the drawers of judicial bodies, if it turns out that there are forces in the DPS that can and want to use this affair to achieve their own political ambitions, said Stevo Muk, president of the Managing Board of Institute Alternative (IA).
It is paradoxical, says Muk, that the opposition, NGOs and media are demanding that Montenegrin judiciary brings to justice those who are responsible for this and other cases, while at the same time they claim that these institutions are captured. Numerous unsolved affairs involving high level government officials, at the beginning of Duško Knežević’s case, opened a million dollar question – will everything end up as in the affairs – cigarette smuggling, ”S.C.”, “Telekom”, “Audio Recordings Affair”, “Limenka”… Or will the case of Knežević get a different epilogue.
The only affair that can be considered as closed, and ended in political and judicial fining was “Zavala” and a number of cases in Budva.
Although the convicted head of a criminal group is free and currently in Belgrade, the fact is that with the elimination of Svetozar Marović, Milo Đukanović lost the most serious competitor in the party. On the other hand, the DPS was punished by the loss on the elections in Budva, although only two election cycles ago it had the support of over two-thirds of voters in that city.
Muk reminds that now, this is the first time that a tycoon of such rank, recently very close to Đukanović and DPS, firstly is subject of “persecution” by official institutions, and then personally and publicly strikes back by making serious accusations with obvious evidences. “Of course, no one knows what Knežević still has and wants to offer to the public. It is possible that there are other important cases of misuses in his archive” Muk says.
He says that the further judicial process primarily depends on the state’s special prosecutor’s office, whatever Knežević offers.
“If Knežević is ready to testify and offer evidence for his claims, we need to have a Special Prosecutor’s Office on the other side, which is ready to protect the witness and to conduct the proceedings credibly. I expect that the prosecution will try to calm the public by opening a investigation in this case, and it is known how long it takes for the investigations on the cases leading to the top of the DPS to be conducted and what is their epilogue,” Muk says.
It is not necessary to go further than Croatia, to see how the political elite and the public of the country, which has gone through several cycles of changing of governments, react to major scandals. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković quickly distanced himself from tycoons Ivica Todorić and Agrokor and informed the public almost daily about the process that was shaking the financial sector of that country.
Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković, who bears the most responsibilities in the system, right behind the DPS leader, did not talked in public about this, so far. The DPS issued a statement in which it briefly refers to the video which shows Knezević giving 97.5 thousand euros to their official Slavoljub Stijepović. Muk says that the DPS confirmed with its statement that they will not admit participation in obviously illegal actions, and that it will transfer the debate to the field of political struggle, accusing the actors of new attempts at political destabilisation, and accusing Knežević for trying to put pressure on state institutions.
“The question remains whether this affair will accelerate the stratification process within the DPS, whether it will there be political forces within the DPS that can and want to use this affair to achieve their own political ambitions. If it turns out that such forces exist and have control over significant party and state levers of power, the case of Duško Knežević could get an unusual acceleration and a different epilogue from previous similar scandals,” concluded Muk.
We could find out how Đukanović earned the first million
According to Muk, two cases could be particularly important if Knežević decides to make them public:
“Explanation of the origin of Đukanović first million and the “Telecom case”. If Knežević is ready to credibly “open” these two cases, it could be something that can’t be easy to overcome,” said Muk.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission relates Ana Đukanović with corruption during the privatisation of Telecom, which was later confirmed by her brother and the head of state and DPS, Milo Đukanović, while he “earned” the first formal million on the basis of a loan from the London branch of Piraeus Bank. From this loan, he bought shares of Prva bank, which later increased, thus explaining how he repaid the disputed loan.
In both cases, companies related to Duško Knežević are mentioned, and these cases could go out of domain of the Montenegrin judiciary, if some new moments appear.
Knežević said that, in September 2017, he talked with Milivoje Katnić, which is Special State Prosecutor, about “Telekom” affair, the Đukanović family, and villa that is being built next to the villa “Gorica”, the sale of Elektroprivreda to the Italian A2A, lawsuits with the company “Kaspia”, which is owned by family of the Minister in the Government of Azerbaijan Kamaladin Haydarov.
Author: Vladan Žugić
This article was originally published in daily newspaper Vijesti, and at Vijesti’s portal.