14 Jul FILE: CORRUPTION ON LOCAL LEVEL – KOLAŠIN (2): Land of the chosen – formula for enrichment
Municipality of Kolašin was damaged for enormous sums of money due to the illegal sale of municipal land throughout the course of last decade and a half, for which none was held accountable. There have been several formulas for the enrichment of privileged at the expense of Kolašin, but this one with land is rather simple – you buy a parcel from the Municipality for, let’s say, EUR 1000, and you sell it for EUR 70.000 the next day. Or, you simply receive the municipal square metres with one swipe of the quill and voila, there you have it!
Mileta Bulatović and Mile Šuković, duo which made the nowadays former municipal government in Kolašin for two decades, has sold or ceded millions of square metres without the compensation on attractive locations. Land was often sold below the price, and sometimes even given as gift to privileged individuals, companies, or affiliated persons. Municipality ceded the land without any trace of announcements, or the decisions of Parliament. Due to the aforementioned, Municipal Board of Social-Democratic Party (MB SDP) filed a criminal complaint in 2009, which for years is still not processed.
“We have a reasonable doubt to believe that they sold and given as gift state property without any supervision. They indebted the municipality and ceded the land under the fiduciary, while the institutions of system followed them in all of that”, stated Željka Vuksanović, current president of Municipality of Kolašin, even when local SDP filed a criminal complaint against Bulatović and Šuković, who occupied the positions of presidents of Parliament and Municipality of Kolašin for a long time.
MB SDP amended and expanded its criminal complaint against Bulatović and Šuković in September 2015 on the grounds of doubt that they gave away the land at preferential prices or without the compensation to the majority of persons, in an illegal manner, which, as has been alleged, caused great damage to Municipality of Kolašin and Montenegro.
Centre for Investigative Journalism of Montenegro (CIJ – MNE) had the insight into part of the documentation based on which that criminal complaint was created. Until the deadline for publishing this text, we have not received a reply from the Special Prosecution whether they work on this complaint. And the complaint contains lots of examples that indicate on the suspicions concerning misuse of authority.
In doing so, the Municipality sold three cadastral parcels to Miroslav Rakočević, supposedly based on the announcement from 9 August 2007: in cadastral municipality (CM) Kolašin, 2024 square metre for EUR 40.500; in CM Drpe, 2619 square metre for the price of EUR 26.200; and in CM Smajilagića Polje, territory of 3450 square metre for EUR 7.000.
Rakočević sold the parcels in Kolašin and Smajilagića Polje the very next day after he bought it, and he did so at several times higher price. Value of the land in CM Kolašin increased almost four and a half times in 24 hours, thus that what he paid EUR 40.500, Rakočević sold for EUR 182.000. For the lot in Smajilagića Polje, Rakočević received two and a half times more money only a day later – EUR 17.250.
Third parcel in Drpe he sold couple of months later, in October 2007. In the case of Drpe, the price rocketed almost six times. Therefore, he received EUR 150.000 for what he paid EUR 26.200. To summarise: he received EUR 349.250 for three parcels which he bought from the Municipality in the amount of EUR 73.700, thus earning for himself EUR 257.950! And this is the loss of Municipality only from doing that particular business.
Rakočević sold all these parcels to company Allianz Kapital from Budva.
Several other people have also sold land to this company, which they previously bought for pittance from the Municipality of Kolašin. In doing so, Milan Bulatović sold 600 square metres to that company for EUR 33.000, which he previously bought from the Municipality for EUR 600. Hence, euro per square metre, and sold even EUR 55 per square metre, with the fact that Bulatović did not pay those EUR 600 to the Municipality, according to the criminal complaint of MB SDP, whereas he did not omit to register that lot on his name, prior to the transaction with Allianz.
According to the criminal complaint, to which CIJ – MNE had the insight in, this was not the only parcel which Bulatović acquired without previously not paying for it. He also registered the parcel in CM Kolašin of 391 square metre for which he should have paid EUR 1955, even though there was no announcement or the decision of Parliament concerning that transaction.
Even Zoran Bulatović traded with Allianz Kapital: he sold 1267 square metre to that company for EUR 76.200. He previously acquired the land from the Municipality of Kolašin at a symbolic price, and according to the criminal complaint, there was no value assessment of land prior to that sale.
In May 2007, Allianz also bought the land from Tomislav Bulatović, namely 710 square metre for the amount of EUR 78.100, hence EUR 110 per square metre. Bulatović previously bought that lot from the Municipality, even though there was no decision of Municipal Parliament on the sale of that land, which is mandatory.
Allianz Kapital did not buy the land solely through the mediators. It did trade at privileged prices directly from the Municipality of Kolašin. In August 2007, it bought 8.748 square metre for EUR 87.500, hence something less than 10 euros per square metre. According to the criminal complaint of MB SDP, there was also no previous value assessment of real estate, and other land in close proximity was sold at the price of 50 to 150 euros per square metre.
There was another interesting transaction in the beginning of 2005. Municipality of Kolašin sold 400 square metre to Dejan Đurašković from Podgorica for EUR 800. There is no decision of Municipal Parliament of Kolašin on that sale either. Once he registered the parcel, Đurašković soon after sold it to Zoran Vlahović, former Chief administrator of this northern city. Vlahović paid EUR 1000 for the land, hence 2.5 euros per square metre. Nevertheless, in Vlahović’s hand the value of that land soon enormously increased and he sold it to Allianz for EUR 70.000, or 175 euros per square metre. Seventy times more that what he originally paid for. Good business for local official – you give a thousand, and earn EUR 69.000.
According to the Register of Commercial Court, company Allianz Kapital was founded in March 2007. The founder is Igor Chaplygin, while Zoran Rakočević was the director. The company was initially formed as a real estate agency, and later re-registered into hotel company. Soon after the registration, Rakočević‘s name was erased from the Register of Commercial Court, and Chaplygin was registered as the only person in the company.
According to state cadastre, Allianz owns huge assets, not only in the municipality of Kolašin, but in Budva and Kotor as well. Burden was registered last year on part of its assets in Budva, due to the unsettled tax debt of about EUR 33.000. This company has been on the list of blocked legal subjects last several years due to the debt which exceeds tens of thousands of euros. This year, Allianz Kapital found itself on the list of 200 largest tax delinquents with the amount of debt of EUR 282.651.60.
By the way, according to earlier reports, owner of Allianz had been buying the land located between Saint Stefan and Budva, along with several other persons, from the former creator of Zavala project, Sergei Polonsky. Apart from Chaplygin, others who participated in those transactions, according to media reports, were Igor Pelyuhno and Nahum Emilfarb, who is now one of the owners of Budvanska rivijera. Emilfarb is known for transforming the failed project of Zavala into Dukley gardens, and for having great plans for the capital of tourism, as well as for other coastal towns.
“Had you applied for the announcement on the sale of municipal land, you would have acquired it under the same conditions, same as the ones for which you are inquiring about”, told Mileta Bulatović for CIJ – MNE. When CIJ – MNE insisted to get clarification for the specific cases, Bulatović lost his patience and stated: “Get off of our backs, you’ve crossed every line, you and your investigative journalism and Vijesti. We know well who you are”, told Bulatović, thus depriving us of answer to numerous dilemmas.
But all of the abovementioned is just smaller part of the story. Municipal expanses were taken by the biggest players. Media previously announced that the majority of them bought land for pittance. According to data of Real Estate Administration, Aco Đukanović, Prime Minister’s brother, registered more than 275 000 square metres on his name in September 2009, spread on three parcels in cadastral municipalities of Šljivovica and Smajilagića Polje.
Edin Kolarević, Prime Minister’s nephew, has six parcels in Kolašin in cadastral municipalities Kose and Smrčje, total space of about 46 000 square metres!
Another two persons close to highest Montenegrin officials own vast amount of land – either directly or through affiliated persons and companies. In that manner, Zoran Bećirović, friend of Prime Minister Đukanović, seized hundreds of thousands of square metres through companies which he privatized. Only his SKI Resort – Kolašin 1450 owned about 147.000 square metres on Jezerine near Kolašin. And Ljubiša Šestović, brother-in-law of Branimir Gvozdenović, longtime minister in several Governments of Montenegro, came to a possession of 83.000 square metres in the summer 2008.
Network for Affirmation of Non-governmental sector (MANS) filed a criminal complaint several years ago against the Government of Montenegro and Ministry of Sustainable Development, as well as against Aco Đukanović, Edin Kolarević, Dragan Bećirović and Branimir Gvozdenović due to conflict of interest. Namely, the Government and its Ministry assigned the Republic Institute for Urbanisation and Planning (RIUP) with the development of spatial plans for the area where the vast land of families Đukanović, Šestvović and Kolarević is located, whereby the RIUP is in the ownership of Aco Đukanović!
Alas, this criminal complaint was also left as a dead letter.