Centre for Civic Education (CCE) informs the public that after the press release “They promise publicly but fail to deliver data later» from 20 August 2013, the Ministry of Finance has submitted the information required for the CCE research “How much managers within the state administration bodies earned in 2012?” The position of the most closed ministries or those who are still strongly “blacklisted” when it comes to the transparency have maintained, in different forms, the Ministry of Education and Sports and Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs.
The project “How much managers within the state administration bodies earned in 2012?” has been designed in the framework of the CCE subprogram Accountability and Transparency of authorities in order to contribute to raising awareness about responsible spending from the Budget of Montenegro. In this regard, the specific objective of this project was to determine the amount of money that managers in the state administration organs have acquired during performance of their duties in 2012, as well as any other additional compensation for the same period at the expense of the budget of Montenegro. This information was collected by CCE, pursuant to the provisions of the Free Access to Information Law, from 3 June until 25 July 2013, and publicized these at the press conference held on 26 July 2013. The project itself has initially included 45 state bodies, 6 of which did not provide the requested information (Ministry of Finance has sent the data on 21 August 2013).
As a reminder, the Minister of Finance has, immediately after the publication of the preliminary findings of this research of CCE on 26 July 2013, reacted on 28 July 2013 with the promise that he will promptly provide the requested information to the CCE. The Ministry itself has publicly stated that his salary is € 1.063,51 since he serves as the Minister of Finance (December 2012). Since the data have not came until 20 August 2013, at which the CCE draw attention of the public, the Minister Žugić personally addressed the CCE and explained that it was a technical failure that will be quickly corrected. Indeed, on 21 August 2013, the CCE received an information about incomes of managers in that Ministry in 2012, which will further be incorporated into the research, and here the table is represented in integral manner:
Also, in the meantime, the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs has sent a letter to the CCE, which due to collective holiday was not delivered, but the same was after the CCE press statement from 20 August 2013 submitted by email. That letter reinforces the position of this Ministry as a closed one, because of the 17 ministries in the Government of Montenegro, only in the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs there is no information about the salaries of managers and the Ministry claims that it “would mean pre-compiling of a new information”, and has, referring to the Article 29, paragraph 1 of the Free Access to Information Law, denied a request of the CCE. Also, it is interesting to note that the decision of the Ministry was issued on 16 July 2013 (at the request of the CCE sent on 3 June 2013, which breached the legal limit), and was sent by post on 30 July 2013, and by a receipt returned on 1 August 2013 to the same Ministry since the office of the CCE was then closed due to collective holiday. It remains unclear why it took 10 working days for this Ministry to submit already made decision, and to submit the evidence regarding that to the CCE electronically on 21 August 2013 in the late afternoon.
Ministry of Education and Sports remains persistent, at least when it comes to this research, in ignoring the rights of the public to obtain information about the income of its leaders. Given the numerous media reports on the role of this Ministry and its organs in election campaigns, CCE believes that it is important that the public has insight in incomes of all those who govern it and its organizational units.
CCE emphasizes that the Free Access to Information Law is a part of the legislative framework in Montenegro, and thus is binding for all organs and its application contributes to accountability and transparency of institutions. Therefore, any disregard of this law, other than a breach of it by those who should be leaders in the application of the law, points to the non-democratic standpoints amongst the managers of bodies that hide information of public interest.
Vladimir Vučković, Programme Assistant
1 Until and including April 2012, when afore mentioned, appointed by the decision of the Commission on Housing of the Government of Montenegro and the decision of the Ministry of Finance, was granted the lease of, for an indefinite period of time, with the right to purchase under favorable conditions, an apartment in Podgorica.