For more than 20 years, the residents of Brezovica in the municipality of Pale have been listening to promises that they will have a regular water supply. After we sent questions to the director of Vodovod, an invitation arrived. “You won’t believe it, we’re putting the system into operation tomorrow,” says the director.
Written by: Sanja Vasković
The Government of Republika Srpska, through the program of direct support to municipalities and cities in the implementation of the most priority projects, approved funds in the amount of 450,000 KM for the construction of a water supply system in the local community of Brezovice.
And while a tender was announced for the street reconstruction project, the leaders of the municipality of Pale decided to allocate funds for the construction of the water supply system to their own water supply company.
In order for the construction of the water supply system to be awarded to a company headed by director Dejan Kojić, a high-ranking official of DEMOS who, quite coincidentally, is a coalition partner of the SNSD whose councillors in the assembly support the work of the Mayor Boško Jugović, the municipality covered themselves with an assembly decision. Thus, in 2020, DEMOS councillors themselves voted for their president of the municipal board, that is, that all work in the field of water supply should be done by this company.
The contract was signed on June 20 of this year by the mayor of Pale, Boško Jugović, and the director of the company “Vodovod i kanalizacija” ad Pale – Dejan Kojić.
“This contracted work will be implemented in seven phases, including all elements from the construction of the catchment to the connection of all end users to the new water system. The deadline for the completion of all works is 90 days from the introduction of the contractor to the work”, it was announced by the municipality of Pale after the signing of the contract.
Not even five months later, the water has not reached the end users.
“It’s hard for us, we’ve been without water for years, but we manage somehow,” one of the residents of Brezovica told us, outraged by the constant promises of the authorities.
The reasons for exceeding the deadline in the performance of works from Vodovod were justified by the delay of the goods by the supplier due, as stated, to the Russian-Ukrainian war.
“In the meantime, we have been informed by the supplier that there will be a delay in the delivery of the NP 40 bar plumbing material due to its specificity, because it is a high-brass material and no company in Bosnia and Herzegovina produces it and does not have it in stock, so it is necessary to import it from abroad, and due to disruptions in the market, there was also disruption in the production of such material”, they stated for SPIN Info from this company.
However, with a simple search on the Internet, it can be established that these pieces can be obtained in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Vodovod nevertheless decided to give the money to the company “Bihexo” owned by Mirsad Birberović, Bakir Izetbegović’s son-in-law, whom the Prosecutor’s Office of Sarajevo Canton charges as the responsible person of the company, made illegal payments to the account of the Employment Mediation Agency “Liding” for the fictitious engagement of students.
“Future consumers on the newly built system can submit requests for connection, and ‘Vodovod i kanalizacija’ will carry out the construction of the connections as soon as weather conditions permit”, informed Vodovod. Since it is winter, the residents of Brezovica will wait for water until spring.
Good cooperation between the municipality and Vodovod in the “interest” of the citizens
Although it is written in the Contract: “The client reserves the right to reduce the number of invoices by up to 10% if the works are not performed with quality or within the agreed deadlines”, the municipality of Pale has never calculated penalties for late works. The proposal for reducing the invoice in this case should have been made by the supervisory authority, and the supervisory authority, again, is appointed by the municipality. Moreover, in September, Vodovod asked the Municipality for an extension of the works until December 2. Even then they were not finished.
In the meantime, the works became more expensive, so Vodovod announced that everything cost 500,000 KM, and where the additional 50,000 marks were provided, the citizens of Pale will not find out.
The opposition councillor in the municipality of Pale, Igor Tošić, states that it is regrettable that people in the 21st century must wait so long to receive basic living conditions.
“On the basis of the parliamentary decision from 2020, the work in the field of water supply is awarded to a company from Pale. I think that announcing a tender would only prolong the whole process”, believes Tošić.
On the other hand, our question is how he comments on the coalition cooperation, that is, the fact that the job was assigned to a company headed by a DEMOS official, and that, according to our information, the subcontractor is the company “Stanišić” d.o.o. of the MP Ace Stanišić, and the influential officials of the same party, Tošić did not comment specifically.
Brezovice “swallowed” 600,000 marks, and even in 2022, the water did not reach the end users
Back in 2018, the mayor of Pale, Boško Jugović, forwarded to J.P. “Vodovod i kanalizacija” ad Pale to implement the request of the residents of the Brezovice settlement to solve the water supply problem. After some research, the water supply company made conceptual solutions only in May 2020. At that time, the Republican Secretariat for Displaced Persons and Migration of the RS hired experts, who, together with representatives of the municipality and the water company, toured the area of Brezovica and familiarized them with the project on the spot. By analyzing the conceptual solution submitted, the expert team recognized the project as high-quality and necessary. Then 35,000 KM was approved for the account of the municipality. In the same year, the municipality of Pale provided an additional 65,000 KM. This, in 2022, everything cost the aforementioned 500,000 KM. Where and how the money was spent, and why the works were not completed on time, to these questions we have been waiting for an answer from the Municipality of Pale for a month.
Due to unfulfilled promises, exceeding deadlines and coalition agreements, only the citizens of Pale will suffer. Although the Assembly recently rejected the request of Vodovod to increase the price of water by 15%, it is certain that the price will rise in the coming period. The locals of Brezovice will face this winter without water, while only a few kilometres from them in Jahorina, millions of KM of public money are being spent for the luxury of chosen ones.