A Slap On The Wrist

Remember the Prez’s flying fiasco? To offset the damage, President Danilo Türk asked the Court of Audit to pour over the rent-a-jet procedures which ran up a bill in excess of 90,000 euros. At some point the Anticorruption Commission got involved as well and its findings (published on Tuesday) were intriguing to say the least.

Stojan Tramte (source)

Anti-corruption Commission, headed by Drago Kos, found that while the President legally does not have in influence and power in rent-a-jet and other procurement procedures (and is therefore innocent of any wrongdoing), it was his office which should have exercised more vigilance, restraint and sound economic thinking when organising a flight. Specifically, it failed to perform even basic inquires about prices with flight operators in Slovenia, thus paying far more than the market price at the time of procurement of service. Thus the commission found that the actions of the person responsible are consistent with legal definiton of corruption (failure to act leading to inappropriate use of public funds). However, the Commission also found that no criminal act was committed.

As a result Stojan Tramte, Secretary General of the Office of the President offered his resignation to President Türk on the same day. Yesterday the Prez refused the resignation, citing Tramte’s efforts to improve the procurement procedure within the Office after the affair broke out. The Prez also pointed out that the Commission found there was no criminal activity and that he has already officially reprimanded Tramte immediately after it became obvious that public funds were not spent wisely.

So the whole thing basically amounted to a slap on the wrist. As expected the Anticorrupton Commission went above and beyond the call of duty to clear the Prez of any wrongdoing, pinning the blame on people in the Office. Nothing new there. But although it was probably agreed in advance that Tramte would offer to resign and the President would refuse the resignation, I still like the fact that he indeed offered to resign. Usually in Slovenia public officials excel at shifting the blame around, but Tramte bit the bullet and took the blame.

Obviously this doesn’t make everything alright, but it does hopefully set a precedent for future cases. Both in terms of officials taking responsibility for their actions as well as in terms of actually closing a corruption charge case.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

9 thoughts on “A Slap On The Wrist”

  1. Do not tell me that making a deal that got someone 30 to 40 K and getting a slap on the wrist is a precedent worth having. Not checking with AA is not a mistake that a grown individual let alone an educated one can afford. Mistakes like this do not happen.

  2. It wasn’t a mistake. It was a wrong decision, apparently all the more complicated because they were running out of time. Or so the official story goes.

    As for the precedent: I agree it’s not something to boast about, but it is an improvement from practices where people knowingly circumvented procurement procedures and did not even blink an eye, even after their deeds were uncovered.

  3. “Wrong decision” just does not cut it for me. I hoped for more from this cabinet. I also dont find it tastefull for the 1. lady to travel with her bodyguard at her side 24/7 despite the entourage of her husband by her side. I certanly am not advocating JJ and I understand the role of the 1. lady but for examp; all the trips with former PM of U. Bacovnik, and there were many were paid from the JJ privat pocket. A friend from the charter department at AA says he always topped the price with 1 €. Just for the sake of the argument.

  4. Well, since you are singling out this guy Tramte as such an angel, you could have pointed out that Marko Strocs had to resign over something much less damaging to the budget – for telling the truth.

  5. Who said anything about Tramte being an angel? I just thought it was good sport that he offered to resign following the Commission’s findings. I also conceded that it was probably a coreographed move and that he knew in advance that Türk would refuse the resignation. But he did offer to resign immediately after the findings.

    Which is what we can’t say for Marko Štrovs, who indeed resigned for what was perceived as offensive remark, but it took him a while to realise that. Moreover, you are very much correct in saying that Štrovs had to resign. But he had to resign because he wasn’t really popular with his party president Andrej Bajuk who didn’t like Štrov’s in-party opposition.

    So what Štrovs did was dig his own grave with that particular statement about death taking care about the pension system (or something to that effect). In both cases it was an act of carelessness or even stupidity. But at the very least Tramte recognised that when the fallout was obvious.

    I’m pretty sure that if he were to start shifting the blame on his subordinates Tűrk would probably have to fire him.

  6. That much I agree with… But the President now vouched for him. Should this happen again, it will have repercussions for the Prez as well.

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