Jelić: It is distasteful to ask for compensation of one and a half million

In the Basic Court, the dispute regarding the lawsuits of the former members of the commission against the Employment Office continued. The former director of the Institute states that the fees were limited, and that they could not be calculated based on the resolved case, but based on the completed final report. The entire project of incentive measures for the employment of persons with disabilities was worth one million euros, while the members of the commission are asking for compensation of one and a half million

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The basis for the payment was the commission's reports, which were not adopted: Jelić, Photo: Luka Zekovic
The basis for the payment was the commission's reports, which were not adopted: Jelić, Photo: Luka Zekovic
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

The members of the commissions of the Employment Agency could not have higher monthly fees than 108 euros, and I consider the requests of seven of them to receive a fee of one and a half million euros for participating in a project for the employment of persons with disabilities, which was worth a million euros in total, incredible and tasteless. the former director of the Institute said yesterday during her testimony in the Basic Court Vukica Jelić.

She testified yesterday in the continuation of the dispute following the lawsuit filed by two former members of this commission DR i MM who are asking for 65 thousand euros each for work in the commission from February 19, 2016 to April 19, 2017. The total claim of all members of that commission amounts to one and a half million euros.

This dispute is being heard by a judge Dragan Babović, who was the only one who accepted the request of the Institute's lawyer Nebojša Batrićević to witness the former director Jelić, who made the decision on the formation of the commission and the amount of fees. Other acting judges refused it, even though the value of the dispute is multi-millions.

Former members of this commission, who filed lawsuits, believe that according to the text of the decision of former director Jelić, they have the right to compensation for each processed application - the request of the employer, and not on a monthly basis or at the end of the period. Several court experts have confirmed such an opinion in their findings, which is why the claims also demand payment of benefits for individual months in the amount of over 15 thousand per member.

Commissions worked during working hours

She said yesterday that she made the decision on the formation of the commission on February 19, 2016, in accordance with the Institute's Statute at the time, to monitor grant schemes that provided non-reimbursed support to employers for the employment of persons with disabilities. She said that the members of the commission, otherwise employees of the Institute, were supposed to perform the work related to the commission within the framework of regular tasks and during regular working hours, but that it was still decided to grant them additional compensation for that work in the decision on the establishment of the commission because it was a special group of users - people with disabilities, mainly because there was a possibility of abuse.

When asked by Judge Babović, whether the members of the commission did that work outside of their regular working hours, Jelić said that there was no need for it and that she was not aware that they worked overtime.

When asked about the amount of compensation, the former director said that it was set for the entire public sector by the Government's decision at the time at a maximum monthly amount of 50 percent of the average net salary in Montenegro from the previous year, and that this compensation could be received for a maximum of six months. Jelić stated that this means that the compensation for that entire period could have amounted to a maximum of 1.440 euros per member.

She also said that the decision defines that the basis for the payment of compensation is the submission of a report on the completed work, either monthly or at the end of the project. When asked by the judge if she had seen those reports, she said that she had not, that they were sent to the Management Board of the Institute, but that as far as she knew, those reports were not adopted.

Jelić: The fee was 108 euros

The former director said that with the decision on the formation of the commission, she determined the fees that were lower than the maximum from the Government's decision, that is, that she determined the fee in the amount of 40 percent of the gross salary after the adoption of the report on the progress of the project, which then amounted to about 290 euros. as well as in the amount of 50 percent of the gross salary after the adoption of the final report, that is, about 360 euros per member of the commission. As she said, that would amount to about 108 euros per month, and that at that time it was a correct amount of about 20 percent of the average salary.

She also stated that it is not true that her decision can be interpreted in such a way that the members of the commission had the right to compensation for each resolved request of the employer, as claimed by the prosecutors. She said that the purpose of the commission was to prevent abuses, and now something completely opposite has happened.

Lawyer of the female employees who sued the Institute Radonja Drakulović, objected to this testimony and said that the decision on the formation of the commission and the amount of the fees was clear and decisive and that there was no need for subsequent interpretation by this witness, i.e. that the fee was awarded according to each submitted report, as well as that the commission submitted a report for each processed application. He also stated that the decision on the formation of the commission and the amount of compensation was never repealed, so it cannot be interpreted as referring to a period of six months.

Drakulović: He makes his future position easier

Drakulović, he said, suspects that the witness is "making some future position easier for herself" by testifying like this, given that the inscriptions in the media give the impression that she is to blame for such a large amount of fees and possible damage to the budget of the Institute and the state.

Jelić said that she did everything in accordance with the law and other regulations, as well as that she got the impression from media reports from these trials that they wanted to create a campaign and declare her guilty of high fees in the Institute, and thus enable the prosecutors to receive a million and a half euro.

When asked by Drakulović whether she sought the Government's opinion when on February 19, 2016, she made a decision on the amount of benefits, Jelić said that five days after that, the Parliament adopted changes to the law prohibiting the payment of benefits and that it would be frivolous to send a letter requesting approval for the payment of the benefits specified in the decision.

When asked if she believes that the new legal norm on the prohibition of the payment of benefits was also mandatory for the decisions that were made earlier, Jelić said that she is an economist and not a lawyer, but that she knew that the position of the majority of lawyers was that from that change in the law there are no more compensation payments to public sector officials who performed work as part of their regular activities.

She also stated that due to the request of the members of the commission, she approached the Ministry of Finance on May 13, but was told that they do not allow the payment of those benefits. She also said that as of May 19, 2016, she was no longer the director of the Institute, as part of the agreement on the election of the Electoral Trust Government.

Batrićević: They sing the decision

The lawyer of the Institute, Nebojša Batrićević, said that from the testimony of the witnesses, it can be clearly determined that what the Institute has claimed so far is the truth. He also stated that during the entire procedure, the opposing side "knowingly and deliberately sings about a decision in a very inappropriate way in order to achieve an illegal property benefit", as well as that the blame wants to be placed on the decision-maker and that the whole concept of planned robbery is wanted be based on a decision whose norms are changed in claims.

At yesterday's hearing, the authorized representative of the Institute in all these disputes, the president of the Management Board, did not attend Dejan Vojvodic, because the Government dismissed the Management Board on Thursday, without electing a new one.

The new expert did not find a basis for the payment of compensation

At yesterday's hearing, the report of the new economic and financial expert was read Dragan Nišavić, who determined that the members of the commission could have monthly allowances up to the maximum amount stipulated by the Government's decision, but his assessment is also conditional because he states that the prosecutors did not provide him with a basis on which the allowance could be calculated.

According to the decision, the final reports of the commission were the basis for the payment of benefits.

Attorney Drakulović challenged this expert's report and requested that the court use the previous expert's report Nemanja Dragović, which coincided with the demands of the prosecutors. Dragović previously said that he was an expert on what was required of him by the Court's decision, which is the amount of compensation according to the Institute's decision on the formation of the commission.

Dragović stated that the decision of the High Court in a similar dispute from June 2020 stated that fees are paid according to each processed application.

Documents in the second case are still in SDT

In the Basic Court, proceedings are also being conducted on the lawsuit of three members of this former commission, who are demanding EUR 200 in compensation for two years of work in the commission, but the hearing on this lawsuit has already been postponed twice because the Special State Prosecutor's Office has not returned the court files.

The judge in this dispute, Jelena Anđelić, sent the files to the SDT on her own initiative in November last year. That decision was preceded by a hearing, after which the president of the Institute's Board of Directors has now been dismissed Dejan Vojvodic He said to "Vijesta" that it is necessary for the SDT to deal with this case, citing as disputed not only the claims but also the opinions of the experts who confirm them, and the decisions of the judges who reject the witnesses proposed by the Institute.

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