They make up the fight against corruption

Ćalović Marković called on Prime Minister Milojko Spajić to prevent the legalization of corruption and to oblige the Minister of Justice Andrej Milović to hold a serious public debate on changes to the Law. The Ministry of Justice rejected suggestions related to the possibility of the Agency checking whether the officials have possibly hidden assets in the country or abroad, but not only them, but also their family members, but also checking the lifestyle

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Ćalović Marković, Photo: Luka Zekovic
Ćalović Marković, Photo: Luka Zekovic
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

The fight against corruption will not be any better if the Government today adopts the latest version of the latest solutions to amend the law that defines that area, because key recommendations such as the obligation of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption to check whether public officials live in accordance with their earnings, and officials to declare the children's assets - regardless of whether they live with them or separately.

The Ministry of Justice also rejected suggestions related to the possibility of the Agency checking whether the officials possibly concealed assets in the country or abroad, but not only them but also their family members.

Recently, the Venice Commission felt that the chance was missed, and it assessed that "cosmetic changes were offered".

"In a situation where most members of society (if not all) seem to agree on the need to change the law, the opportunity for more extensive changes to the current law was missed... Although the Venice Commission understands the reasons for the urgency, it regrets that this did not allow for a more inclusive dialogue and a more detailed the consultation process on the Draft Law, which would undoubtedly benefit the quality of the law...", announced recently from the VC.

Those interested could send suggestions and remarks to the Ministry by e-mail or to the address provided, and they were answered in the same way.

Director of the Network for the Affirmation of the Non-Governmental Sector Vanja Ćalović Marković says that "with the amendments to the Law on Prevention of Corruption, the Minister of Justice Andrej Milović persistently puts him in the position of protector of corrupt public officials".

Milovic
Milovicphoto: Luka Zeković

"The changes he proposes represent a combination of cosmetic changes to those members who should ensure the essential fight against corruption and dangerous news that will protect corrupt officials from liability. Minister Milović persists in his intention to introduce a statute of limitations for hiding assets by officials and their family members, although it is a well-known fact that due to the selective nature of the work of the Agency, no serious case has been initiated so far," the MANS director emphasized.

WHEN THE LAW IS "MADE" BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

According to Ćalović Marković, it would be understandable "if some of those changes were proposed due to ignorance of this matter on the part of the minister, who has never dealt with the fight against corruption in his career".

"However, even after the very specific comments we made based on twenty years of experience in this field, as well as the remarks of the Venice Commission, the minister persists in dangerous solutions that absolve corrupt officials. Additionally, such decisions are made by the Minister of Justice behind closed doors, without substantial public discussion and without the participation of the non-governmental sector in the working group, which represents an even worse practice than what the previous regime did," she said.

Ćalović Marković points out that "all this leads to the conclusion that the minister is purposefully avoiding the public in order to distort the law and enable public officials to keep hidden, illegally acquired property".

"That is why we invite the Prime Minister (Milojko Spajic) to prevent the legalization of corruption and oblige the Minister of Justice to hold a serious public debate on the amendments to the Law on the Prevention of Corruption and significantly improve that document", said Ćalović Marković.

Milovic
Milovicphoto: Boris Pejović

Department Andreja Milović accepted the suggestions of the Venice Commission and the interested public in Montenegro to provide the Agency with access to data on the accounts of officials in credit and other financial institutions.

THEY WERE IN A HURRY, THEY DID NOT HAVE TIME FOR THE WHISTLER

In response to several domestic and international suggestions that Montenegro needs a special regulation on whistleblowers (persons who report corruption and threats to the public interest), the Ministry of Justice clarified that this was not possible "because of the short period of time at the moment, and in order to meet the temporary criteria in chapter 23".

They promised that they would prescribe a way to categorize public officials and their obligations by means of a by-law.

They partially accepted the remark that referred to the decision that the procedures for determining the violation of the provisions of that regulation - prevention of conflicts of interest, gifts, sponsorships and donations and reports on the income and assets of public officials "cannot be initiated after the expiration of a period of five years from the date of the violation". .

"The provisions of the law regulating the administrative procedure are applied to the procedure for determining the violation of the provisions of this law related to the prevention of conflicts of interest in the performance of public functions, restrictions on the performance of public functions, gifts, sponsorships and donations and reports on the income and assets of public officials, if this law does not prescribe otherwise. Proceedings from paragraph 1 of this article cannot be initiated after the expiration of 10 years from the date of the violation, i.e. 10 years from the date of knowledge of the violation," states the report from the public hearing, published by the Ministry of Justice.

CLERKS ARE NO LONGER CLERKS

However, referring to suggestions that the Agency should act on its own knowledge or report that officials live better compared to the salary they receive, the Ministry claims that "the proposal cannot be implemented" and that "the Agency does not have the authority to monitor the lifestyle of public officials ".

The suggestion that the value of the property change that needs to be reported to the Agency was unjustifiably doubled from the current 5.000 to 10.000 euros was not accepted, and the decision that only the property of joint household members should be reported was retained.

Although the Trade Union Organization of the Agency, as well as lawyers, warned that the Law on Civil Servants should continue to be applied to the employees of that institution, the Ministry insisted on the solution that it should be the Labor Law, referring to the recommendations of the Group of Countries for the Fight against of corruption (GRECO).

The proposals of the Institute of Alternatives that the definition of a public official include members of commissions in the procedures of privatization, public-private partnerships, awarding concessions and public procurement, and that the Agency has the obligation to determine the existence of conflicts of interest in the exercise of public functions in the field of spatial planning, urban planning, were not accepted either. concessions and public procurement...

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