Inspectors of Republika Srpska and Banja Luka work together to protect businessmen

Inspectors of Republika Srpska and Banja Luka work together to protect businessmen

It is widely known that laws in the Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina exist only for ordinary citizens. If someone dares contradict and figh

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It is widely known that laws in the Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina exist only for ordinary citizens. If someone dares contradict and fight for justice, they face a year-long “battle” with an inefficient and often corrupt bureaucracy.

One such battle is taking place in the very centre of Banja Luka, just 300 meters away from the city’s administrative office.

Residents of ZEV Alley of Saint Sava 4, 8, 12, and Bana Milosavljevića 36 have approached our portal, seeking help from the Banja Luka city administration and the Fire Protection Inspection Sector of the Republic Inspection Administration for years. They are requesting clearance for the fire truck access and the fire extinguishing platform, where a summer terrace for the cafe “ATA-1” is built on the ground floor of the ZEV Bana Milosavljevića 36 building.

Other ZEVs in the city also face issues with physical barriers for firefighting interventions. Despite the city’s negligence, laws strictly prescribe the way access to buildings for fire trucks and fire extinguishing platforms should be ensured. The inspectors are inefficient and contradictory. Interestingly, any inspector who records irregularities is soon removed and replaced by an inspector who tolerates the same issues!

In 2020, the Republic Fire Protection Inspector Morača visited the site and prepared a report stating that the summer terrace of the “Rijeka” cafe (editor’s note: as of March 2023, “ATA-1”) should be removed as it does not comply with the Fire Protection Law and the Regulations on technical standards for access roads, turning areas, and organized platforms for fire trucks near buildings at increased risk of fire.

In 2021, the same inspector documented the same issue, and although absolutely nothing had changed, the report was completely opposite.

“Safe evacuation, passable roads. No deficiencies. The distance between the building and the summer terrace complies with all regulations for unimpeded evacuation and firefighting vehicle intervention in case of a fire,” which is in complete contrast to the report made a year earlier.

“In November 2023, our ZEV received a notice from the Republic Fire Protection Inspector Slađana Savić, stating that, by letter number 17-81-341/23 dated November 22, 2023, they were informed by the Department for Civil Protection and the Professional Territorial Fire and Rescue Unit of Banja Luka that the technical equipment of the Fire and Rescue Brigade and the training of its members enable timely and correct intervention in the firefighting process,” begins the story of one of the residents of ZEV Alley of Saint Sava, who requested not to disclose his name.

Sladjana Savic – Notification to ZEV

However, as he claims, Inspector Savić omitted an important detail and warning from the mentioned notification.

“Considering that a large number of residential buildings in the city have similar or identical access for firefighting vehicles (for years, we have been alerting relevant institutions to such issues), we are forced to adapt to the current situation, and this is also the case with these locations (editor’s note: locations of ZEV Bana Milosavljevića 36 and ZEV Alley of Saint Sava 4, 8, 12). The current situation is such that access to these buildings is difficult from all sides (construction barriers, benches, parked vehicles, the summer terrace platform, bollards, etc.), but our equipment and the training of our members allow us to intervene in a timely and proper manner. We hope that relevant institutions will pay more attention to these issues in the coming period for the general safety of citizens and their property.”

Fire Brigade Unit – Notification

Our interlocutor wonders why, as he claims, Inspector Savić provided them with such a notification and announced the filing of criminal complaints against her to the District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Banja Luka.

“Not only have the relevant institutions not paid more attention to these problems, but the Republic Inspector Slađana Savić ignored the warning from the head of the Department for Civil Protection and the Professional Territorial Fire and Rescue Unit and concealed that warning from the residents of ZEV,” concludes our interlocutor.

Residents believe that the inaccurate determination of the actual facts regarding the fire route and fire extinguishing platform for the ZEV Bana Milosavljevića 36 building by the Fire Protection Inspector of the Republic Inspection Administration of RS has harmful consequences for the rights and interests of ZEV’s condominium owners to ensure a free fire route and fire extinguishing platform as envisaged by the Fire Protection Law.

In the end, Savić closed the case, directing the ZEV residents to contact the Department of Communal Affairs of the City Administration of Banja Luka, which issued the decision for the temporary occupation of public space for setting up the terrace of the catering facility, and the Department of Spatial Planning of the City Administration of Banja Luka, which issued location conditions for the mentioned facility.

As the residents had previously approached the relevant authorities in the City Administration of Banja Luka, they received a notice from the urban planning and construction inspector Biljana Kragulj, referring to the report of the Republic Fire Protection Inspector from 2021, stating that there are no deficiencies. This closes the loop of shifting responsibility and jurisdiction, but not the entire story.

Namely, the municipal police of the city of Banja Luka has proven to be very accommodating when it comes to protecting privileged investors. As the supervisory body conducting on-site checks of occupied public spaces and whether the user of the public space has a valid permit, the municipal police allowed Dario Muhović to use the public space in front of his catering facility in the centre of Banja Luka at Aleja sv. Save 2a for the needs of an open-type summer terrace with an area of 57m2 without paying any fee! The direct damage to the city budget due to the negligent work of municipal police officer Branko Sarić is the non-payment of the fee for temporary occupation of public space for the period from January 1, 2022, to May 13, 2023, in the amount of at least 9,000.00 KM. Our portal learns that this fee cannot and will not be collected because the Department of Communal Affairs did not issue a Decision for the occupation of public space for that period!

We have received confirmation of all the above from the Department of Communal Affairs of the City of Banja Luka.

“As for the economic entity ‘ATA 1’ doo Banja Luka, by reviewing the partner card, it is noticeable that, as of February 1, 2024, it has a total of 3,710.91 KM of overdue unpaid obligations for the fee for the temporary occupation of public space, approved by Decision number 05-370-3317/22. for the period from May 13, 2023, to May 13, 2024. Out of a total of 12 instalments determined by the same decision, the named entity has paid 3 instalments, while 7 due instalments have not been paid, and two instalments are still due,” the city administration states.

They also add that the fee for the temporary occupation of public space is determined by decision, exclusively upon the request of the party, and there is no possibility of determining it ex officio, i.e., without the request of the party.

“By examining the official records of this Department, it has been determined that the economic entity ‘RIJEKA’ Muhović Dario s.p., did not address this Department with a request for the temporary occupation of public space for the period from January 1, 2022, to May 13, 2023, and for the specified period, no fee for the temporary occupation of public space has been determined,” the communal department says and adds that the control of the setup terraces in the territory of the city of Banja Luka, and whether the users possess the appropriate permit, i.e., a decision determining the fee for the temporary occupation of public space, is carried out by the Department of Inspection Affairs, Section of Municipal Police.

Department of Communal Affairs

The conclusion of Mayor Stanivuković is that there is no established violation of the duties of municipal police officer Branko Sarić, who provided a benefit to the owner of the catering facility “RIJEKA” s.p. Dario Muhović, enabling him to occupy public space, conduct business, and generate income without paying a fee to the budget of the City of Banja Luka. Therefore, there are no grounds for initiating disciplinary proceedings against him.

Mayor – Conclusion

So far, we have not received any response from the municipal police, but we learned that the ombudsman has issued a recommendation to the municipal police and the republic inspectorate to remove the disputed terrace.

Outraged residents, in the end, pose the question of whether the recent moves by Stanivuković’s administration will cost the city a rebellion from 300 owners of catering facilities and other street vendors who are obliged to pay for occupying public space in the city.