Vladimir Faber, director of Police within Croatian Ministry of Interiors, has confirmed the speculations about his removal. The news has been brought to him by his superior and personal friend Tomislav Karamarko, minister of interiors. The removal will be formalised tomorrow after cabinet's meeting.
Faber's removal is hardly unexepected, because the national police chief - whom some considered to be Croatian version of Eliot Ness, while others called over-ambitious and over-zealous - stepped on too many powerful toes. In 2006 he was in charge of war crimes investigation which ultimately brought conviction of Branimir Glavaš.
He was appointed to his post in October 2008, following murder of Ivana Hodak. Karamarko was appointed to minister's post together with himn. Only few weeks later Ivo Pukanić was murdered, but Faber, surprisingly, made some arrests. Those successes brought him some PR points, but also created enmity in HDZ circles, including Sanader himself, who publicly berated Faber because of his statements regarding police corruption and HDZ influence on police personnel issues.
It is still unknown what was the hair that broke camel's back. Some claim that it was Faber's quick handling of underage prostitution scandal in Osijek - when his investigation, contrary to public outrage, found smearing between ex-spouses as the main issue. Other points to investigation of corruption within Ministry of Defence.
The latest issue was Faber's alleged refusal to let riot police beat protesting famers who recently blocked streets of Zagreb. Apparently, minister of agriculture Božidar Pankretić wanted police to "solve that problem" and later wanted Faber's head when national police chief - citing legal issues - refused to do that.
Faber's removal might be looked in the context of the great political realingment that might happen with Sanader's election to president. In that case, HDZ and government might be taken over by deputy prime minister Božidar Kalmeta, known for his hardline nationalist past as well as being indirectly related to corruption and rackeetering scandals. New HDZ government will have very little need to policemen who aren't "dependable" or who take their job too seriously.