Leaked audio recordings have exposed how the chief of staff of Belgrade’s mayor offered a rigged contract to a Turkish company in return for agreeing to terminating its existing deal with the city.
According to audio recordings of two meetings held a the City of Belgrade Assembly building, Nenad Milanovic, the chief of staff of Belgrade mayor Aleksandar Sapic, offered the representatives of Turkish company Kentkart a rigged contract for public sector maintenance and improvement of the system for collecting tickets and managing city vehicles if the company agreed to the mutual termination of an existing contract.
The offer was made in March this year, and was rejected by Kentkart.
Kentkart’s Serbian partner Sava Terzic said he did not know how reporters obtained recordings of the meetings, but he confirmed that the recordings were authentic. Under the scheme, Milanovic offered Kentkart a new contract that the company would “win” through a rigged tender.
“I confirm your statements about the fact that we were offered to set up a future public procurement on the condition that we sign the offered mutual termination of the contract. This has been offered to us on several occasions,” Terzic told journalists.
“We made an official note about this incident and submitted it to our legal team. That’s all I can tell you, because we will carry out all further activities in accordance with the advice of our legal team,” he said.
In one of the recordings obtained by journalists, chief of staff Milanovic offers to “honour the million euros we promised” to Kentkart if the termination of the contract moves forward.
“I would also take responsibility for providing Kentkart with the continuation of services through the public procurement procedure,” Milanovic said.
Milanovic told Terzic that Kentkart had rejected the proposal, urging him to “please talk to the Turks today, let’s try to finish it by the end of the week, let’s call for the public procurement right away, and enter the procedure as smartly as possible, without much, without much being public.”
Milanovic is also recording as saying that if Kentkart does not accept the mutual termination of the current contract, Terzic will be accused of “ruining” public transport in Belgrade.
“If we don’t agree by Friday, by 12, if you don’t come to sign [the termination] of the contract, we will come out with the information we have and Sava [Terzic],” Milanovic said, “you will be personally accused of being someone who has been involved in this for 15 years and as someone who ruined public transport in Belgrade.”
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