The government-run Anti-Corruption Council warns about dozens of thousands of hectares of state-owned land being given away to private entities without compensation, i.e. just based on a note issued by the Privatization Agency which says that the land buyer has settled its obligations stemming from a contract.
“Even if the buyer did fulfill its obligations, that could not imply buying land because the seller only had the right to use the land, so they could have not transferred the ownership rights to the buyer”, the report compiled by the Privatization Council states.
The report has been published on the official website of the Anti-Corruption Council (www.antikorupcija-savet.gov.rs ), and has also been sent to the Serbian government, the National Parliament, the ministries of economy, agriculture and interior affairs, and the State Prosecutor.
“The conversion of public ownership over agricultural land into private without due compensation has caused incalculable damage which exact scope could not be determined by the Council because the Republic Geodetic Authority has refused to submit the latest data on the status of ownership on agricultural land after the privatization process,” the Council’s report states.
The report goes on to say that hiding the real data about the size and the ownership status in regard to agricultural land post-privatization, and declaring this information as confidential, clearly shows that private rather than state interests are being protected here.
“We can take an example of just one buyer Mile Jerkovic who, during the process of privatization of agricultural companies and combines, acquired over 30,000 hectares of the best quality land in Vojvodina which was previously state-owned. After the contract with this particular buyer was terminated, the State Cadastre’s data showed that only 4,000 hectares were returned to the state. There is no information as to what happened with the remaining 28,000 hectares in 2014”, the Council underlined.
Also, due to the incomplete data, the Council could not ascertain the state’s interest in the Serbian government concluding a deal with the Al Rawafed Company from the United Arab Emirates.
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