CDT: The government and the prime minister to ensure that the cost of benefits received by former officials is made public

According to them, only six ministries submitted information with a list of public officials and the compensation they received upon termination of office.

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Photo: CDT
Photo: CDT

The Government of Montenegro and Prime Minister Milojko Spajić to ensure the transparency of the spending of public money, that is, to ensure that the costs of benefits received by former officials are not hidden from the public.

This is stated, among other things, in the statement of the Center for Democratic Transition (CDT), which, as they said, sent requests for free access to information to the General Secretariat of the Government of Montenegro and the ministries, "asking for details about the benefits that former officials received after the termination of their functions in period from March 2016 to September 2023".

According to them, only six ministries submitted information with a list of public officials and the compensation they received upon termination of office.

"That is, the details of compensation for former officials were submitted by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Culture and Media, the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation, the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Urbanism and State Property and the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, while the Ministry of Public Administration submitted only information on compensation for officials who exercised that right after 2022," they clarified.

CDT specified that according to the submitted data, these six departments spent more than 1,1 million euros on compensation to former officials, within the last seven and a half years.

"Of course, this amount is only the tip of the iceberg considering the fact that we do not have data on the compensation for officials of other ministries," they added.

They emphasized that five ministries partially approved their request.

"Omitting information on allocations for officials' compensation, while we did not receive the requested data from six ministries at all. It is interesting that individual ministries cited a cyber attack on the Government's IT infrastructure that occurred in 2022 as an explanation for not providing information on compensation for all years, protection personal data...", they added.

They stated that the Ministry of Energy and Mining had no payments on this basis in the analyzed period, because, as they said, it was a newly formed department.

"However, this ministry complied with the Law on Free Access to Information and responded to our request within the deadline. The Ministry of Tourism, Ecology, Sustainable Development and Development of the North responded within the deadline and forwarded the request to the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Urbanism and State Property for further action, because that department is a legal follower of the Ministry of Ecology, Spatial Planning and Urbanism...", they said.

They note that the General Secretariat of the Government of Montenegro submitted decisions on exercising the right to compensation after termination of office to public officials, "who were chosen, appointed or appointed by the Government of Montenegro, but not the amounts that were paid to them, clarifying that this implies the creation of new information , that is, that the General Secretariat does not keep such records".

"CDT expects the Government of Montenegro to demonstrate a different approach compared to its predecessors when it comes to the transparency of spending money and establishing new work practices in accordance with the legally prescribed obligation of proactive transparency. The lack of response to our requests for free access to information certainly does not represent good manners of work at the beginning of the Government mandate", they concluded.

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