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Insajder in the making: DIPOS - SQUANDERER OF STATE MONEY

A state company “for its own benefit”

Catering, rental of “other” means of land transport, adult and other education, treatments improving physical condition and mood – are these the activities that a state company founded to manage state assets should do?

DIPOS is a company that has existed in various forms for over 50 years, its fundamental purpose being to provide accomodation to foreign diplomats and foreign trade offices for the state, and to manage, maintain and remodel state-owned villas and apartments.

In its current form, it has existed since 1997, and has been in exclusive ownership of the Republic of Serbia since 2007. There were many excuses for keeping part of its business confidential.

Among the publicly accessible documents, one of the most significant ones is the company statute.

Since it became solely state-owned, DIPOS has changed its statute three times – in 2009, 2012 and 2015.

One of the items that largely defines the behavior of the company, apparently permitted to operate without any serious oversight, is Article 3 of the statute, which states that the company “has every authorization and acts on its own behalf and for its own benefit in legal dealings with third parties.”

It is unclear why the government of Serbia would allow this company, whose very business premises are located in a state-owned villa, to do business on its own behalf and for its own benefit.

Since 2009, as we reported in the article on DIPOS’ contract with the Republic Property Directorate, DIPOS has spent the funds it makes for various purposes.

Therefore we have looked into what activities it engages in.

In the 2009 statute, in addition to activities related to real-estate rental, design, renovation and maintenance, DIPOS registered activities such as catering, passenger transport, treatments to improve physical appearance, etc.

Here is a list of this state company’s unusual activities

  • 55520 - Catering
  • 60211 – Land transport of passengers
  • 60230 – Other land transport of passengers
  • 63110 – Cargo reloading
  • 63300 – Travel agency and tour operator business; tourist assistance, not mentioned elsewhere
  • 63400 – Other transport mediation
  • 71210 – Rental of other means of land transport 
  • 74402 – Other services of advertizing and propaganda
  • 80420 – Adult education and other education, not mentioned elsewhere
  • 92720 – Other recreational activity, not mentioned elsewhere
  • 93040 – Treatments to improve physical condition and mood

The 2012 statute leaves out some of the activities, but includes renovation and building. The 2015 statute of DIPOS keeps the most contentious Article 3, which states that the company operates “on its own behalf and for its own benefit” and introduces the activity of building security.

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