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Friday, March 31, 2023

[Exclusive] Testimony of a ministry employee who was threatened by Zlatko: Swearing and concrete threats were dropped! “I’m afraid, I’m scared!”


“Zlatko threatened an employee at the Ministry of Culture, I cannot quote him exactly, but in any case this does not belong in the manners of a high-profile artist, or at least that what the whole public as well as himself consider him. The lady filed a criminal complaint against him, and the minister is appalled by these acts, of him, and perhaps someone else,” Damjan Damjanovič explained yesterday’s incident at the Ministry of Culture. “Yes, I am afraid. I am scared,” sincerely said an employee of the ministry, whom Zlatko threatened by saying that she should sleep with one eye open.

Zlatan Čordić set the year 2020 in the rhythm of his song “Izuživi se” (=go all out, party) and if until now we did not fully understand what he means, the word has now definitely acquired a special, characteristic meaning for Zlatko. After Čordić first broke into the national celebration on the Statehood Day, then attacked the Nova24TV cameraman, and finally argued with the director of NIJZ (=National Institute of Public Health), dr. Milan Krek, then everything points that his second song is following, as “life gives back exactly what he gave to others.” Yesterday, we reported how he lost his self-employed status in culture, and with it some status-related privileges. In the order of the Ministry of Culture, they clarified their move with the explanation that in the past year Zlatko has devoted a significant part of his creative time to activities that are not related to demonstrating the ability to perform cultural activities. And now another information came to surface due to which the ministry will demand a refund from Zlatko for the last four years.

In today’s Topic of the Day, the host Luka Svetina presented the testimony of the employee at the Ministry of Culture. Namely, Čordić allegedly went there when he found out in the mail that the ministry removed him from the register of self-employed in culture. In broad daylight he shouted at and threatened the frightened employee, who was signed under the order about his removal. The self-employed in culture are otherwise entitled to the status on the basis of which the state covers their contributions to the pension and health insurance if they are engaged exclusively in a special artistic activity and their income does not exceed 20 thousand euros annually.

However, in Zlatko’s case, the data on Ajpes revealed that Čordić has had the Svet je lep association registered as an independent entrepreneur since 2016, which is a legal-formal economic entity. Due to the association he has received over 42 thousand euros in inflows to  date, mostly by the City of Ljubljana and the public RTV Slovenia. Thus, according to the law, Čordić was not entitled to the status of a self-employed in culture. Now the ministry will have to demand a refund from Zlatko for the past four years. “Gold gives you shine, not happiness,” will Zlatko have to comfort himself with.


Concrete threats were also dropped at the ministry

At the ministry, Čordić demanded from the doorman to call the employee, and at the beginning of the conversation he told her that he was filming for some intelligence agency. As he did not excel in the journalistic profession, he apparently decided to embrace the role of a secret agent. “Then there were insults, he threatened me and then he shut up and that was it. We did not talk about anything in person, he only had his monologue” explained an employee at the Ministry of Culture. There were also concrete threats said: “At the end of the conversation, he threatened me to sleep with one eye open for the next few days. And then he shut up. I have been working at the ministry for more than a quarter of a century, and nothing like this has ever happened before,” she said, admitting that she was really scared after the incident. “I could not believe that something like this could happen in Slovenia, which is otherwise a peaceful country, and especially this happening at noon, in broad daylight,” added the shocked employee, who wished to remain anonymous. “I am afraid. I am scared,” she was honest. According to Damjan Damjanović, she filed a criminal complaint against him.

In recent years, the self-employed status in culture has apparently been received even without deserving it

Damjan Damjanovič, director of the directorate for creativity at the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia, explained that the ministry has been obliged already for years to check the self-employed status, as well as non-governmental organisations and associations, i.e. all those who receive funds from them. As part of this, their work is also checked retrospectively and if it is established that someone did not meet criteria, then certain measures are taken in accordance with the law. “According to the information provided to me by my colleagues, Zlatko did not meet the conditions for the so-called public service, moreover, he even exceeded the threshold of 20 thousand euros, with which the self-employed status is limited, to pay his contributions,” explained Damjanovič.

The host of the show reminded him that the opposition blames the Minister of Culture for revanchism, as Čordić has been chosen at time of his anti-government protests. “This is not exactly true, that we are doing revanchism. Zlatko is a more exposed person therefore media supports him more, namely media always use someone who is a so-called numero uno,” Damjanovič defended the ministry’s move, stressing that such behaviour was also a common practice of the previous leadership of the Ministry of Culture. All individuals and associations or non-governmental organisations of various forms must be in the interest of the public good, Damjanovič emphasised, which according to him means that you must be in accordance with the rules of the game. These are written in acts or laws, but additionally you must be above average. Svetina also asked the director of the directorate whether in the past few years it had often happened that the self-employed in culture came to the status, despite meeting the legal basis, i.e. bypassing the rules of the game. “It is hard to say bypassing the rules, it is more accurate to say at the discretion of the expert commissions. Namely, the rules are clear, however, they were interpreted in various ways. Thus, in the last period we reviewed a few dozens of these applications, which contained only an opinion of expert commissions, without any explanation as to why someone was awarded something,” said Damjanovič, hinting that sometimes the status was awarded without a person deserving it.


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