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The Austrian ICMPD launched an investigation in its own office in Sarajevo!

Michael Spindelegger
Michael Spindelegger

It concerns an affair uncovered by Fokus, in which top officials of the BiH Ministry of Security, Nenad Nešić and Samir Rizvo, were implicated. Director Spindelegger suspended employees Asmir Kedić and Rizvo’s son

Michael Spindelegger, the director of the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), has ordered an internal investigation to be initiated within the Sarajevo office of this Austrian organization following allegations of corruption exposed by Fokus.ba.

This information was confirmed to our portal by Bernhard Schragl, the head of the communications department at ICMPD. He stated that an internal investigation was initiated at the beginning of April following Spindelegger's visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is noteworthy that Spindelegger formerly served as the vice chancellor of Austria.

Donors’ decision

This decision was made in light of the donor's determination to terminate the MIS project, along with media reports. The investigation is currently ongoing, and at this stage, ICMPD is unable to disclose further details regarding the investigation’s findings – said Schragl.

He corroborated Fokus’ report by confirming that two employees of the ICMPD Sarajevo office, Asmir Kedić and Bekir Rizvo, who isthe son of BiH Assistant Minister of Security Samir Rizvo, are placed on suspension pending the investigation.

It is worth recalling that we have presented the information in the investigative text published at the end of October last year, which was also forwarded to the Prosecutor's Office of BiH. It highlighted the existence of a corrupt network involving individuals from the Ministry of Security of BiH, led by Minister Nenad Nešić and Samir Rizvo, as well as individuals from other institutions of BiH, specific domestic companies, and international organizations. The aim of this network was to secure the multi-million EU project for enhancing the system of biometric identification of foreigners for selected business entities.
As we previously reported, the ICMPD was tasked with a project funded by the Embassy of Switzerland at the end of 2021. This project aimed to establish a system for issuing biometric residence cards for foreigners but was subsequently canceled due to identified corrupt practices.

The information we acquired suggested a connection between certain individuals at the ICMPD and Samir Rizva, who, along with Minister Nešić, has been reported to the BiH Prosecutor’s Office for abuse of office. Among the ICMPD employees mentioned in our previous reports was Asmir Kedić, who has since been suspended.

OLAF’s investigation

Regarding Rizvo's son, who is also suspended, ICMPD previously confirmed to Fokus that he is employed in the organization as a project assistant, and that his father, Samir Rizvo, serves as one of ICMPD’s contact points within the state institutions, so the ICMPD staff collaborates directly with him on various matters, including projects.

According to exclusive information we published on April 1, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has initiated a case concerning the non-transparent use of EU funds in the Ministry of Security of BiH. The allegations brought to light by Fokus are currently under investigation.

As previously reported, Minister of Security of BiH Nenad Nešić and Assistant Minister for International Cooperation Samir Rizvowere, among others, reported to the BiH Prosecutor’s Office due to fraud in the implementation of this project. Earlier, the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH officially confirmed to Fokus.ba that this case was assigned to the investigating prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH.

Additionally, in recent months, Fokus was contacted by Austrian and German journalists who expressed interest in this matter following our article. We have learned that they have also reached out to the Ministry of Security of BiH, ICMPD, and the EU Delegation in BiH for further information.

Investigators from the European Platform for Investigative Journalism “Follow the Money” based in the Netherlands and specializing in various financial affairs across Europe and the world, have also reached out to Fokus. They have shown interest in obtaining a range of information about this story in BiH, as they have been investigating ICMPD’s activities for an extended period.