Just shortly after the public revelation of the outrageously expensive trips of the Minister of Public Administration to New York, the public became aware of a textbook case of corruption at the highest level, once again involving the Minister of Public Administration. The public learned that the Institute for Gender Equality Studies (IPES), of which her friend and former business partner Kaja Primorac is the founder, will receive 300,000 euros. The current business partner of Kaja Primorac, however, is no longer the Minister of Public Administration but her mother. The Minister “admitted” on public television that this is wrong. However, despite acknowledging the wrongdoing, she has no intention of resigning.
“As soon as I became aware that Kaja Primorac helped prepare two project documentations, I informed both the relevant departments at the ministry and the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (CPC),” the minister stated on RTV and then announced the annulment of the tenders. Therefore, the minister is announcing a report against her business partners and her mother. Would she do something like this if the Deputy Chairman of the CPC had publicly declared himself an opponent of opposition leader Janez Janša?
But that is not the whole story. The disclosure of the details of the tender for “strengthening active citizenship rights and empowering non-governmental organisations in the field of active citizenship rights” revealed an additional layer of the entire story. The company Smart centre has co-owners Kaja Primorac (again) and the mother of the Minister of Public Administration, Dragana Marjanović. This company collected a seven percent commission for the preparation of tender documentation. “Smart centre” assisted four other non-governmental organisations in preparing the documentation.
Odmevi host Rosvita Pesek criticised the minister: “If your mother receives any cent of those seven percent commissions from this company, of which she is a co-owner, it should never have happened. Your friend in the company, where you were a co-owner, should not be able to collect seven percent commissions.” The minister agreed: “I agree with this, and that is why I informed the relevant departments at the ministry, including the legal department and the CPC, because I agree that it is not appropriate for anyone connected to me to receive any cent from this tender.”
Admission of guilt
The minister then explained on Odmevi that contracts for this tender had not yet been signed and that it would be annulled when the legal basis was ready. This is practically an admission of guilt, but it appears that it will not have political consequences. The minister does not intend to resign. Despite the need to annul the tender due to the evident flow of public funds to the transactional accounts of business partners, friends, and close family members, she believes that she has not done anything illegal and that her business is transparent.
Support for her was expressed by her parliamentary group Gibanje Svoboda. MP Tereza Novak explained in a way that everything happened without the minister’s knowledge and that everyone knows each other in Slovenia anyway. The other two coalition partners were more cautious. The minister received support from the Prime Minister Robert Golob, both when her outrageously expensive trips to New York were revealed and during the scandalous distribution of public funds. Speculation has already emerged in the public that the minister is practically a political corpse.
Former Health Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan also enjoyed the prime minister’s support… until his resignation letter was handed over to him.