The internal control of the public company Forests of the Republika Srpska (Šume Republike Srpske) determined a number of irregularities in the territory of the Čemernica Kneževo Forestry. Someone, to put it simply, is stealing the forest again in this economy. This time, the data on the amount of firewood used to heat the official premises of this forest farm do not agree. The Forest Management is demanding disciplinary responsibility of those responsible in Čemernica. No one mentions criminal responsibility.
On December 5, the Acting Director of Forests of the Republika Srpska, Slaven Gojković, asked the management of the Čemernica Kneževo Forestry to declare all the irregularities listed in the internal control report. Gojković also requests that a disciplinary action be initiated against the persons responsible for the mentioned omissions in work, as well as that the Ordinance on the shipping statement form and the shipping note form for the sale of forest wood assortments be respected.
“You undertake to inform us in writing urgently, and at the latest within seven days, about the activities undertaken to eliminate the aforementioned irregularities and omissions in the work”, it is written in the letter that Slaven Gojković, director of Forests of the RS, sent to the director of Forestry Čemernica Kneževo, Njegoš Radić.
The internal control of the Forests of the Republika Srpska carried out an inspection at the end of November and the beginning of December this year following a report of the theft of a large amount of firewood in the area under the control of the Čemernica Forestry. Gerila.info sources claim that the main suspects for the theft of the forest are individuals from the administration of this economy.
The internal control (the report on the performed control is in the possession of Gerila.info) established that the Čemernica Forestry for its own needs, for heating its premises, shipped 196.10 cubic meters of firewood, of which 71.10 cubic meters of cladding, 106 cubic meters of space wood and cellulose 19 cubic meters. However, during the inspection at the warehouse, a total of 95 cubic meters of firewood was found until the difference was brought to the warehouse. Not a single cubic meter of wood cladding (logs) was found at the warehouse, although 71.10 cubic meters were officially taken over. A big difference between what it says was taken to warm the official premises and what was found in the field.
“Given that the exact location of the place of delivery was not entered in the shipping statements in the place of delivery column, it was not possible to determine the exact quantity and type of forest wood assortments that were delivered to the locations where the official premises are heated. Heating of official premises is done at five locations. By visiting the mentioned locations, it is established that the total stock at the forestry disposal amounts to about 95 cubic meters”, states, among other things, the report after the internal control in this forest economy.
The report also states that the found state of wood quality is not in accordance with the state according to the shipping statements and the decision on giving consent for own consumption. It is also stated that the director of Forestry Čemernica refused full cooperation with the internal control of this public company.
The Forests of Republika Srpska did not answer our questions regarding the latest internal control in Čemernica and allegations of new theft of forest in this forest economy. We also remained unanswered to the questions that we sent, on the same occasion, to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry of the Republika Srpska, i.e. to the minister, Boris Pašalić. Interestingly, both of them remained silent on our questions last year when we also wrote about the theft of wood assortments in this economy. Minister Pašalić, in a short statement for Gerila.info in front of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, said in November of last year that he was not aware of the events in Čemernica, but that he would provide answers very soon. After a year, no answers from the ministries arrived.
Last year, the Čemernica forest economy was also subject to internal control by the Republika Srpska Forest, as well as an investigation by the RS Ministry of Internal Affairs and the prosecution. At that time, we wrote that 1000 cubic meters of wood had disappeared in this forest economy.
At the end of last year, by order of the Banja Luka District Prosecutor’s Office, the police conducted an investigation and seized a certain amount of documentation. The investigation was carried out in two forest departments, and the workers who spoke to the Gerila.info journalist claim that the suspicion that 481 trees were illegally cut down in those two departments has been confirmed.
“It is not known where about 100 cubic meters of firewood ended up, which were not found at the warehouse. The transport was carried out by eight carriers, while the company has a contract with only one carrier, which is a violation of the Law on Public Procurement. All of the above can be seen from their report, number: 04.3/0208-4088-2/21 dated November 17, 2021. In addition to serious thefts, an unjustifiably large number of violations are also evident, such as the performance of forest works in departments where it is prohibited by law (expiry of validity of remittance, 27, 36…), for which the company will pay fines of tens of thousands of KM”, our sources were claimed last year.
Internal control from the Republika Srpska Forestry showed at the end of last year, Gerila.info sources claim, that in some departments the difference between received and shipped wood mass, first class logs, is about 14 percent and in total, looking at all wood assortments, about 7 percent. The workers, who spoke to the journalists of our website, also claim that at the end of last year, after a halt due to investigations and controls, felling continued in the Čemernica Forestry. They also claim that illegal activities continued because there was no adequate reaction from the competent authorities.
“Everything has to do with politics, because the head of the farm is a member of the SNSD, who has the support of the local authorities in Kneževo, as well as people in the relevant ministry“, say our interlocutors who insisted on anonymity.
Gerila.info was unable to get a comment from the director of the Čemernica Forestry, Njegoš Radić, because no one in this economy, on several occasions, answered the phone calls. Last year, when the workers accused him of crime in Čemernica, Radić said that he considered all the above claims to be fabrications.
The internal control report from a few days ago showed that the forest economy managed by Radić also violates the Law on Public Procurement. In such a way that they provide transport services for wood assortments and pay for these services to transporters with whom the farm does not have transport contracts. The control also established that a certain amount of timber was distributed to the workers in the name of the 2012 holiday before the general elections in October, as well as that the timber was given as a gift to the workers in violation of the regulations of the public company to which the economy belongs. This is justified as help to some workers, but the report states that the director Njegoš Radić did not present to the control the requests of the workers to be granted aid, but only the Decision by which the aid is granted.
It is interesting that the latest internal control report of the RS Forestry in Čemernica is very similar to some earlier reports. Thus, in the report from October 2021, it is also stated that the amount of firewood that was shipped was not found during the inspection and that there are no delivery notes that go to the buyer, which could mean that the wood was sold on the black market.
Despite the constant negative reports of the internal control, there is no reaction from the competent authorities, and it is interesting that neither the Forests of the RS nor the line ministry have officially informed the public about the events in this forest economy. Everything is very easy to prove, according to our sources. It would be enough, they say, to look only at the property owned by individuals from the administration of the Čemernica Forestry.