By: Sara Bertoncelj / Nova24tv
The government has instructed Ukom director Uroš Urbanija to transfer an advance of EUR 845,000 to the Slovenian Press Agency as soon as it becomes acquainted with its financial operations. The STA now says that Ukom has only just been authorised to inspect the documentation. The advance payment must be paid within three days from the day when the director of the STA, Bojan Veselinovič, will provide access to the documentation and if a public service contract is signed by then. Veselinovič stated that he would have submitted the documentation a long time ago if Ukom had requested it legally.
Ukom director Uroš Urbanija said in the show Tema Dneva that they have not yet received the documentation, but he finds the signals from the STA quite promising. It will therefore be possible to access the entire documentation, not only for the last year of STA’s operations, but also for the last ten years. For Urbanija, the overview of the entire business is very important, given the allegations that in recent years a lot of money has flowed from the public service to private companies. Only one of these private companies is said to have saved 250 thousand euros on the STA account. Since these are large sums, everything needs to be examined very carefully. Due to these allegations, as well as allegations of mobbing, the government received a decision to dismiss the director of the STA, Bojan Veselinovič, which has not yet happened.
Director Veselinovič has been signing contracts with Ukom for ten years, with various directors, which means that in the past Veselinovič recognised Ukom as the representative of the founder of STA. In all these contracts, it was stated that Ukom has the right to inspect the documentation – that is why Veselinovič’s statement that Ukom was only now authorised to inspect it, was only the STA director’s negligence. The government’s desire for the matter to be finally resolved has been present at all times, primarily for the benefit of employees. No one can take STA employees – there are about a hundred of them – hostages, as Veselinović has been doing for the last six months. Namely, Ukom applied for documentation as early as October last year, and Veselinović only responded for the first time in the spring that he might be ready to hand over the documentation.
Veselinovič charged twice for the same service
According to Urbanija, another aspect is important. Namely, everyone mentions that the government is obliged to pay for the public service, but the law also clearly states that the STA is obliged to perform this public service. After the inspection, Ukom found that STA does not perform all legally prescribed duties, one of them is, for example, a photographic service, i.e. photographing the most important events. Ukom paid for these photos for years and years, and then Veselinović once again sold these same photos on the open market, which is of course unacceptable.
The Slovenian Journalists’ Association (DNS) is still problematizing that this is an additional condition for paying for public service by increasing the supervision of Ukom’s director. In addition, it also problematizes that the assembly envisages the signing of a contract, even though, according to the law, funding should be possible without it. Urbanija explained that signing the contract is one of the possible solutions, but it would also be possible to decide in court how much and what the STA actually did from the public service. Ukom has twice received a positive decision in the current court proceedings, while STA has received a negative decision from the court. Otherwise, the situation that the DNS is problematizing both the decree and the resolutions of the Assembly is absurd. “Both the decree and the resolutions follow the STA law, and if the law states that things must be free for all and under the same conditions, it is not a question of either the DNS or Ukom what this means. It simply means that the thing must be available free of charge – which is, after all, a positive contribution for all media on the market,” Urbanija pointed out.