Warm and safe – Bošković
From Pljevlja, through Nikšić and Podgorica, to Ulcinj and Budva, the business of two Nikšić companies which deal with the provision of security for property and individuals is connected with the former Minister of Defence and the positions he was in charge of.
Former Minister of Defence Predrag Bošković is considered to be one of the longest serving ministers, who covered various ministries during the three-decade rule of the DPS. In only the previous eight years, Bošković had been in charge of three departments. From 2012 to 2015 he was the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. He took over the Ministry of Education in the first half of 2015 and managed that ministry until the elections in 2016. He then took over the post of Minister of Defence and remained there until the change of government after the elections in August 2020.
On behalf of the state, between 2009 and 2012, he headed the Board of Directors of the Coal Mine in Pljevlja. Since then, the business of the Nikšić-based company Vector Security (since 2018 called Vector System Security (VSS)) has been associated with his name. Their founder and owner is Ratko Popović from Nikšić, but Minister Bošković resolutely denies any personal connections with these companies.
“Bošković brought that company to Rudnik“, the former manager of the Pljevlja-based company told us during this research.
Publicly, former workers of the Nikšić-based bankrupt company Bauxite Mines connected Bošković with Popović’s company last year, after VSS became the owner of former union-owned land in the centre of Nikšić, with an area of 18,622 square metres. According to the available databases, no direct connection is actually visible, but there are a number of coincidences that, in the end, may not be just coincidences.
“If I had connections with that company (VSS – author’s note), it would be in the official data, in the register of ownership, as well as in my card for the registration of property,” Minister Bošković wrote in his response.
As Minister of Defence, he selected this company to provide security for the Army and its property for years. Thus, for years now, Popović’s company has been guarding the property of the Valdanos military complex in Ulcinj. The contract for Valdanos’s security costs at the beginning of 2018 was worth €65,067 and, at the beginning of 2019, €68,690. For this year (2020), Bošković signed a contract with the same company on 17 January to secure the Valdanos property for €58,776.90 – on average, over €5,000 a month.
At the beginning of 2020, Bošković signed an agreement on the delivery and installation of video surveillance systems at the facilities of the Ministry of Defence and the Army throughout Montenegro, through three parties, for a total of €306,170.64. On 6 April 2020, he signed an agreement for the maintenance of video surveillance, an anti-burglary system and access control for €27,300. Previously, in November 2017, he had signed an agreement on the delivery of video surveillance equipment with VSS worth €14,415 for the needs of the Health Centre of the Security Forces in Podgorica. Also, on 13 March 2018, he had signed an agreement on the maintenance of video surveillance with VSS worth €14,612.85.
As the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, on 1 May 2014, Bošković signed an agreement with Popović’s Vector Security on the provision of physical and technical security services for facilities and persons in the Centre for Accommodation of Asylum Seekers. The value of that agreement over 12 months was €99,011.81 or about €8,251 per month. While performing the function of Minister of Education, in August 2016 he signed an agreement with VSS on the provision of physical security services for the building of the Ministry of Education, the Institute for Education and the Examination Centre, over 12 months, for the amount of €14,962.58.
Finally, Vector System Security also provided security for the shareholder’s assembly of the company “13. Jul Plantaže” held on 25 September 2020. This brings us to the story of Predrag Bošković’s entrepreneurial activities.
Authors: Mikan Milošević and Zoran Radulović
Text is originally published in weekly newspaper Monitor, available here (in Montenegrin).
This text has been prepared within the project “For the Better Use of Public Money!”, implemented by the Institute Alternative with the financial support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The opinions and views presented in this text do not necessarily reflect those of the Embassy.