Serbia: (Ab)using of state flats and villas

(Ab)using of state flats and villas

After almost 15 years, the re-trial is beginning in the process against the former officials of the Socialist Party of Serbia and the Yugoslav Left who are accused for the illegal distribution and taking possession of state-owned flats during the 1990s. At the same time, this is the only case under way in Serbia against the former president of the Yugoslav Left, Mirjana Marković. Among the flats that were given away illegally were those managed by the company DIPOS.

DIPOS is the company in charge of managing, renting and repairing of flats and villas owned by the state. However, according to research performed by, much of its work is classified as secret.

DIPOS was always a company entrusted with the real-estate in exclusive locations in Belgrade, for renting to diplomatic and consular users.

At the first glance, it appears that the operations of the DIPOS company are connected with the renting of real-estate, and no political establishment wanted to give up on that company.

Sole process against Mirjana Marković

Despite having been brought in connection with numerous scandals, the trial for the illegal distributing of state-owned flats is the sole case against the former president of the Yugoslav Left. Even this case has become uncertain because of constant delays.

Mirjana Marković was initially charged with the instigation of abuse of official position but, since that case was getting close to expiring, the prosecution has re-qualified the indictment and she is now charged with abuse of official position.

Through various decisions of the government, this company has been enabled to work with selected firms, without adequate control of spending of money, so its work is specific in many ways.

Through insight into the published statutes of DIPOS, has established an absurd fact – that this company „has complete authority in legal operations with third parties and acts on its own behalf and for its own account,“ so a question arises as to how a state-owned company can work for its own account and not that of the citizens of Serbia.

On the basis of the statute defined in that way, this state-owned company operates in every aspect as a private company, without any links to the state.

This is made possible because of, among other things, the contract with the Republic Directorate for Property from 2009, which the government gave the green light for, according to which DIPOS rents properties and spends the money it collects in this way on salaries of its employees and on „investments into real-estate“. It pays into the budget only what is left after all of its expenses are covered.

More illogical things were found in statute that predates 2009, when the company, the purpose of which is to rent, repair and maintain the state-owned real-estate, registered for a series of activities that have nothing to do with its main activity, such as: catering, transportation of passengers or beauty treatments.

A retrial after 15 years

15 years after the raising of the indictment, the trial for the illegal giving away of state-owned flats during the 1990s, including those controlled by DIPOS, is starting from the beginning, with the initial hearing.

The accused for illegal mediation in this crime are Mirjana Marković, the widow of the former president of Serbia and FR Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milošević, who is being tried in absentia since she is living in Russia where she has been granted asylum.

Also among the accused is the former secretary of the Serbian government, Živka Cica Knežević, the former chief of the State Security, Jovica Stanišić, and the former director of the Customs Authority, Mihalj Kertes.

One of the mechanisms for giving state-owned flats away went via this very company. According to the indictment, the former director, Miloš Lončar, abused authority in October 1998 by illegally giving a flat to the former head of the federal government Nikola Šainović, who is an official of the Socialist Party of Serbia and is also indicted by the Hague tribunal. In this case alone, DIPOS sustained damage worth RSD 3,943,900.


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