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sobota, 28 maja, 2022

Transparency International Slovenia Is an Extension of Drago Kos – He Was Even One of the Founders

By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv

The international organisation called Transparency International, which fights against the accumulation of money, doing business “under the table,” and corruption, announced on Tuesday that Slovenia lost three points on the 2021 Corruption Perception Index, thus falling from 35th to 41st place. Given that the centre-right government is currently in power and the parliamentary elections are getting closer, it is not surprising that the mainstream media is once again trying its best to convince people that corruption has spread in the country. In light of this, it is important to mention the fact that our branch of this organisation – Transparency International Slovenia – which is responsible for Slovenia’s ranking, unites the first-class red elite, and the predecessor of this organisation was the Integrity Association (Integriteta), whose founder is none other than the operative in all political affairs, Drago Kos.

“If a right-wing government is in power, the media is convincing people that all of it is corruption. But if a left-wing government is in power, then they let themselves be “convinced” to be kinder in their reporting,” former minister and versatile intellectual, Dr Žiga Turk, commented on the recent reports on detection of corruption, also posing the following question: “Do these corruption indexes detect the phenomenon when someone gets a job that pays very well and then returns the favour later by running for the position of prime minister?”

So much for “transparency”
While the international non-profit organisation Transparency International, which is present in more than 100 countries around the world, states that it monitors everything, from “villages in India, to power corridors in Brussels,” and gives voice to victims and witnesses of corruption in order to realise its vision – creating a world without corruption, the story of Slovenia’s organisation with the same name is completely different, as we have an association that deals with transparency, but it does not really allow it at all. Namely, the Slovenian Transparency International has existed since 2009, and it is closely connected with the Integrity association of Slovenia, that its full name is actually Transparency International Slovenia – the Integrity association. However, as already mentioned, there is not even enough transparency present to be able to determine who is the founder of the association.

A Val 202 journalist Simona Habič, former president of Transparency International Slovenia – the Integrity association (she assumed the unpaid role of president) was listed as one of the founders, but according to the data available on Ebonitete, she resigned as the representative on the 8th of May 2018. On the same day, Alma Sedlar entered as a representative. On the 29th of September last year, Sedlar also resigned as a representative, and Dr Samo Bardutzky entered in her place, who was elected a member and interim president. Bardutzky, an assistant professor of constitutional law at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ljubljana, has already talked about what he thinks of the current government in the past. Let us remind you of what he said. Together with lawyers Bojan Bugarič and Sašo Zagorc, he joined Blaž Zgaga, the other journalists and Slovenian politicians in the European Parliament in howling into the common transitional left’s horn. Namely, with their inciting article entitled “Slovenian Constitutional Hardball,” they hinted at how the government was supposedly overthrowing the Slovenian constitutional order.

The informal president of the Integrity association revealed
What is also undoubtedly interesting is the information revealed some time ago by the web portal Požareport, namely, that the former agent or implementer of the “big bang” from the Patria affair, Drago Kos, is the informal president of the Integrity association. “Drago Kos founded the Integrity association on the 4th of November 2008. Simona Habič took over the management of the association, along with Sandra Blagojević, a former official of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (she is also a member of the Integrity association), and another sexy colleague of Kos, even though the association is actually run by Drago Kos himself.”

In an article from 2011, the web portal also states that the “then vice-president of the association was the former ombudsman Matjaž Hanžek, and the secretary was an employee of the General Police Administration Robert Šumi. The treasurer of the Kosovo Society is Renata Jutriša, a member of the Radovljica section of the Social Democrats party (SD); and by the way, the president of the Radovljica local SD committee is the general secretary of Pahor’s Social Democrats, Uroš Jauševec. The Supervisory Board of the Kosovo Association is headed by Jurij Žurej, director of the Intellectual Property Office and one of the main authors in the recent referendum on Širca’s catastrophically failed RTV law.” Today, the supervisory board consists of Živa Kavka Gobbo, Neža Grasselli and Milan Dragič.

However, a facsimile of the founding of the Integrity association, which was later renamed Transparency International Slovenia – Integrity association, reveals the following names: Simona Habič and Drago Kos.

If one might have wondered how it is possible that there has been no mention of these connections in the media outlet such as POP TV, the largest commercial television station in Slovenia, the answer is pretty clear. Kos, the former president of the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, is married to Tjaša Slokar Kos, who holds the position of director and editor-in-chief of the news programme of POP TV.

It should also be noted that journalist Bojan Požar also revealed the names of “ordinary members” of this association, such as the former journalist of the Večer newspaper and one of the people involved in the Partia affair, Blaž Zgaga, and Jurij Giacomelli, who was the then-chairman of the Delo newspaper. Among the founding members of the Integrity association is also the former MEP Igor Šoltes, who is the grandson of Edvard Kardelj. He initially denied being a member of the association, saying that he was only a member of one association, namely the Slovene Bar Association. But according to Požar, it is quite possible that Šoltes was never a member of this association, but according to Požar’s research from 2012, he is definitely its co-founder.

In the past, two web pages were available for the Transparency International Slovenia – Integrity association, one for the Transparency International Slovenia, and the other for the Integrity association alone. However, Transparency International Slovenia was also mentioned on the latter. But if you try to open a page of the Integrity association today, it says that this website cannot be reached.

The table that shows the results of operations of the organisation in the years 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 shows that the association did best in 2019 when its total revenue amounted to 187,928 euros, and net profit for the year amounted to 13,039 euros. Currently, the association, which has its headquarters at Vožarska pot 12 in Ljubljana, employs four people, according to publicly available data.

In 2016, it was reported that the association would sign an integrity pact with the Ministry of Health at the Grand Hotel Union in Ljubljana. “The European Commission, Transparency International Slovenia, and the Ministry of Health, are trying to improve the management of public funds and involve the public in monitoring the use of these funds by implementing the Integrity Pact in the implementation of hospital energy renovation projects,” read the announcement of the signing ceremony of then-president Simona Habič and the then-Minister of Health, Milojka Kolar Celarc.

Given that public institutions are committed to public procurement, and thus to choosing the most suitable bidder, many people wondered why signing such an act, which represents a systematic approach to public procurement and business, is even necessary. Although Kolar Celarc presented herself externally as a fighter against corruption, it is known that during her time in office, corruption in healthcare was even more widespread than usual. And the details of the act later revealed why the ministry signed the pact in the first place. Namely, it allowed the employment of even more people, which, of course, means that control over finances is even more difficult. At the moment, the association is especially engaged in the protection of the so-called whistleblowers. Namely, in January of this year, the Ministry of Justice was sent comments on the draft law on the protection of applicants (Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities Act), with which they want to offer adequate protection to the widest possible circle of whistleblowers.

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