Pošta Slovenije supervisor reports of political pressure

Ljubljana – Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) has received a complaint saying that the secretary general of the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC), now the Concretely party, Miha Rebolj, was pressurising a supervisor of postal operator Pošta Slovenije over the appointment of Pošta’s new director general, newspaper Delo and web portal Necenzurirano reported.

According to Delo, politics has been trying to find a way to appoint Pošta’s acting director Tomaž Kokot, entrepreneur and a local politician for the ruling Democrats (SDS) in Poljčane, for a full term although he does not have the required qualifications.

Reportedly, supervisor Matjaž Fortič, who was appointed from the SMC’s quota, is obstructing these efforts. He was reportedly the one who reported the illegal political pressure to SSH, the custodian of state assets.

According to Necenzurirano, his resignation was allegedly demanded by the office of Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek.

SSH confirmed for the STA today that it had received a complaint from a member of the supervisory board of a state-owned company alleging illegal pressure on them on 8 December.

“SSH finds any pressure on independent exercise of functions in the bodies of companies or any pressure with other unacceptable content that run contrary to the law and corporative management practices inadmissible. SSH is processing the report with due diligence and in accordance with its internal procedures,” the holding said.

It also urged all members of supervisory boards to act in line with the law and report any pressure.

Rebolj has not responded to the reports yet, but Minister Počivalšek, the head of Concretely, told the press today that he had spoken with Rebolj and that he had told him that he and Fortič had had a talk.

They discussed party issues and Rebolj allegedly told him that he had lost trust in him because of some issues, Počivalšek said, refusing to elaborate.

“Since Fortič then left the party, he proposed him to quit all his posts. There were no threats or suggestions involved,” the minister said during a government visit to the Gorenjska region.

The Commission for Corruption Prevention (KPK) told the STA its had not received any reports connected to Pošta’s supervisory board and would not comment.

It did stress though that in cases of illegal pressure on officials all circumstances needed to be clarified and explanations of all those involved obtained before any comments could be made.

It noted the KPK could only investigate suspicions related to public office holders, which party secretaries general are not.

Irena Prijović, executive director of the Directors’ Association, told the STA today that the association and the KPK had drafted a protocol for members of supervisory boards for reporting pressure and other unethical forms of influencing on their independent decisions.

She said she would like the KPK to receive more such reports, as this would significantly contribute to such political pressure becoming very risky behaviour. A problem is having supervisors who act as they are instructed by politics, she said.

Efforts to appoint Kokot for a full term have been under way for months. Both chief supervisor Franci Mihelič and supervisor Aleš Buležan, from the quotas of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) and the Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS), stepped down in the meantime.

Although they cited personal reasons unofficial information suggest they did not want to take responsibility for the moves of the interim director.

A few weeks ago, management members Vinko Filipič and Andrej Rihter also left the state-owned company.

Current chief supervisor Ervin Renko would not comment on the procedure to appoint the new director as it is still ongoing.