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The Commission of the PIO Fund discovered a large number of abuses during the payment of assistance to vulnerable pensioners, as well as during the construction and distribution of apartments

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The largest number of abuses in the distribution of retirement apartments in Podgorica, Photo: djuric zoran
The largest number of abuses in the distribution of retirement apartments in Podgorica, Photo: djuric zoran
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

The Commission of the PIO Fund discovered a large number of abuses in the work of the Association of Pensioners during the distribution of money to help socially disadvantaged pensioners, the construction of residential buildings and the distribution of apartments for pensioners who are tenants. Some abuses are so great that they are characterized in the report as criminal acts, which will be dealt with by the competent prosecutorial institutions.

At the end of June, the reports were sent to the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and the competent prosecutor's offices. The commission was formed by the previous management board of the PIO Fund, which was replaced by the new government at the beginning of August this year.

Some of the most serious abuses are the distribution of social assistance to "vulnerable pensioners" without criteria, that one person withdraws assistance for more than 20 pensioners without justification, that the criteria for dividing apartments or court decisions are not respected, that associations pay court fines from the money intended for assistance to the vulnerable, that money is distributed without the signature of the person who received it, that the association's officials pay themselves compensation for their work from the money intended for assistance, that the previously determined number of apartments for vulnerable pensioners is illegally reduced by contract annexes and compensations with builders, that associations are engaged in economic activities without registration... It was also discovered that 89 pensioners who received apartments as tenants sold those apartments, and then continued to live at the addresses they registered as tenants, which renders this type of assistance meaningless.

Associations of pensioners through the PIO Fund receive money from the budget for solving social humanitarian needs and paying one-time assistance, as well as for the construction of housing facilities for tenants and the most socially vulnerable beneficiaries of pensions.

At the end of June, the commission for verification and analysis of the spending of money allocated to pensioners' associations submitted two reports, one related to the verification of money for social assistance to vulnerable pensioners, and the other for the construction of residential buildings and the distribution of apartments.

The commission notes that several municipal and local associations of pensioners showed obstruction and did not submit the requested data on the distribution of financial aid to the vulnerable, which was necessary for the work of the commission.

As explained, pensioner associations were obliged to distribute the money received in the name of aid according to the previously implemented procedure and based on established criteria with the obligation of public advertising in accordance with the decision of the Commission for Social and Humanitarian Affairs of the Union of Pensioners Associations of Montenegro. This decision prescribes the criteria on the basis of which the allocation of money is decided - the pensioner's housing issue (tenant), state of health, number of family members who are supported by the pension, amount of the pension, other income in the family and general property status of the pensioner.

During the control of the distribution of financial aid, it was determined that a very small number of local associations respected all the criteria for the allocation of one-time aid, as well as that in a significant number of local associations, the signature of the pensioners who received the aid was not secured, such as the associations for local communities Zagorič, Proleter, 13 July, Ostros, Šušanj,...

"In a number of local associations, one person collected financial aid for several pensioners, without evidence of what happened next with the collected money. In the local association of Pečurice, at least one person collected aid for 21 pensioners in this way, in Ostros one person for 12 pensioners, and so on...", the report stated.

In some cases, the amounts of money allocated to the associations did not correspond to the amount that was paid, as well as errors were found in the ordinal numbers in the lists, which did not correspond to the amount of money shown.

"Although by the decision of the Union of Retired Associations, a part of the funds was set aside for the costs of implementing this activity, in some cases it was recorded that the local associations covered the mentioned costs from the funds allocated for payment. In this way, a certain number of pensioners did not receive the help they were entitled to," the report stated.

The Prosecutor's Office is already investigating the disputed construction and division of apartments

Associations of pensioners in Podgorica, Nikšić, Cetinje, Bar and Danilovgrad, as non-governmental organizations, were not registered for economic activity, and engaged in direct economic activity by building residential buildings, which, as stated by the Commission, is a criminal offense.

The Podgorica Association of Pensioners, as stated, signed a fictitious construction contract with the companies "Kroling" and "Viner Co", which caused damage to the state of 121.994,85 euros, which is the amount of the calculated VAT, which is presented as input and which is without basis proved, given that the management of the association sold all business premises and six apartments to "Kroling".

The same association does not act according to final and enforceable court rulings, in connection with the division of apartments and the obligation to carry out a new distribution, and represents a criminal offense of non-execution of a court decision.

It was also established that the same association made a decision to distribute apartments before the start of construction, which, as stated, is another example of illegal behavior by the association's management because the distribution of apartments is done without a public announcement, ranking list and regulations. This is the basis for annulment and new decisions, and the management association enters the zone of a new criminal offense, pays fines with money intended to help pensioners and misleads users of rights.

It was stated that these contracts caused multiple damages to the pensioners due to annexes, compensations, acceptance of additional works beyond the contract, giving up on the execution of works, etc., all of which reduced the number of apartments that the pensioners got in the end.

Criminal charges have already been filed for these cases and the competent prosecutor's office has opened an investigation and requested additional expertise.

In the report, the Commission points out that the Association of Pensioners Nikšić showed great obstruction by submitting meager data about its housing construction, as well as several other associations.

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