The President of Bosnia's autonomous Muslim-Croat federation Zivko Budimir was arrested along with 17 other officials. (Reuters)

A Bosnian court has ordered the detainment of the president of the country's autonomous muslim region and four other officials after prosecutors said they took bribes to arrange pardons for convicts.

Zivko Budimir, a president of the Bosniak-Croat Federation, the president of the region's commission of pardons Hidajet Halilovic, and 19 other officials were arrested on Friday as part of a corruption investigation in one of the country's two main sections, a spokesman for the prosecution said.

There are fears Budimir would flee the country if released. The detainment order is for one month.

The nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina consists of the Serb-run Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation. Both are highly independent, and each has its own president, government and parliament.

A spokesman for the Bosnian prosecutor's office, Boris Grubesic, confirmed the arrests on Friday. He said members of the group were suspected of "abuse of office, illegal intermediation, receiving and giving bribes, organized crime and drug trafficking."

He made clear that not all members of the group were suspected of all of the crimes.

Police had earlier searched Budimir's presidential office and several other government buildings.

Bosnia is one of the world's most over-governed countries and has four more presidents — one for the Serb-run region and a three-person presidency linking the country's two parts.

It is considered one of the most corruption-prone countries in Europe, partly due to the complex administrative framework but also because of the deep ethnic and political divisions remaining since the country's 1992-95 war.