The person who first alleged that a Serbian minister’s father was involved in the arms trade has been arrested, Belgrade weekly NIN reported in its latest issue.
The weekly said that the whistleblower has been identified by the initials AO and is an IT expert at the Krusik munitions plant. He has been charged with disclosing secrets and has been ordered into 30-day detention.
According to NIN, the covert operation to identify and arrest AO came after the Arms Watch portal published a report which claimed that Internal Affairs Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic’s father Branko was involved in the purchase of munitions from Krusik which ended up in the hands of Islamic militants in Yemen. The authorities launched the operation to find out how the compromising documents found their way to Arms Watch.
AO was initially ordered into house arrest by a judge who was under huge pressure but the prosecution appealed and AO was take to jail, NIN said and added that the Higher Court in Belgrade confirmed the detention order by one of its judges. AO is being held at the Belgrade District Jail to prevent escape, a repeat of the crime and possible influence on witnesses.
NIN said that the Internal Affairs Ministry and prosecution did not issue the customary press release.
The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and Arms Watch both published the document confirrming that Branko Stefanovic did go to the Krusik plant. His son, Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic told the media that his father did not own the GIM company which was named in the document while President Aleksandar Vucic said that he sees nothing wrong with the fact that Serbia is selling munitions.