The police launched an investigation into Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) due to the suspicious commercial electricity trade conducted by the former company EPS Supply (EPS Snabdevanje) .
After the internal control of the state-owned company revealed that there is a suspicion about corrupt activities due to which EPS has lost about 300 large consumers and tens of millions of euros, the police have launched the investigation, Serbian media reported.
The officials of EPS Snabdevanje are suspected of increasing the index for the calculation of electricity which should have been sold to large consumers and state-owned companies by adding two more figures after the decimals of the defined amount thus making the price of electricity significantly higher than those offered by other vendors.
According to the daily newspaper Večernje Novosti, Electric Power Industry of Serbia allegedly lost almost 300 large consumers and even 1,500 measuring points. Most consumers, according to unofficial reports, opted for the company Pronergy BGD, a daughter company of Proenergy Croatia owned by the Czech company Ezpada.
Since the company lost tens of millions of euros due to the alleged fraud, a dozen of EPS Snabdevanje managers have been dismissed, including four directors.
Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Electric Power Industry of Serbia Branko Kovačević said that this body has not yet received the internal control report and that the operations of the state-owned company are still being checked, reports Tanjug.
“They rigged the price, it was just not the price that had been approved. They changed the second or the third decimal and here in EPS everything is large, so you have decimals turned into billions, it is such a kind of business. Energy is one of the most profitable industries. Slightly change the price, let the competition know how much to decrease the price and then participate in the tender where the main criterion is the lowest price,” Kovačević explained.
The suspicious activities dated back to the period when Aleksandar Obradović was the chief executive of Electric Power Industry of Serbia and Dragan Jeremić was the director of EPS Snabdevanje. Obradović was dismissed a year ago when the investigation on the suspicious tender for the purchase of smart meters was launched. In addition to the investigation on rigged electricity prices, the internal control checks the warehouses in Kolubara, a coal mining complex, over the allegations of organized theft of coal.