Centre for Civic Education (CCE) has submitted an initiative to the Agency for Prevention of Corruption (APC) seeking initiation of a proceeding against 24 MPs and one mayor who have not, in line with the Law on Prevention of Corruption, reported accurate and full information in reports on income and assets.
At the end of 2017, media have published that MPs of the ruling coalition have gained, according to the decision signed by Secretary General of Parliament of Montenegro, the so called variable i.e. addition on salary. At the beginning of 2018, when submission and processing of reports on income and assets has been completed, media have also pointed out that a number of these MPs has not duly reported the said addition to the salary.
Tracing this information and by detailed insight into available reports on incomes and property of public officials for 2017, CCE has ascertained that the following MPs have not submitted information on the said variable: Branimir Gvozdenovic, Miodrag Radunovic, Obrad Stanisic, Andrija Nikolic, Mirsad Muric, Ana Nikolic, Maja Bakrac, Predrag Sekulic, Zeljko Aprcovic, Bogdan Fatic, Branko Cavor, Filip Vukovic, Nikola Rakocevic, Milorad Vuletic, Jovanka Lalicic, Radule Novovic, Danijel Zivkovic, Momcilo Martinovic, Andrija Popovic, Ervin Ibrahimovic, Nedzad Dresevic, Mico Orlandic, Genci Nimanbegu and Adrijan Vuksanovic. Additionally, the then MP and now President of Municipality of Bijelo Polje Petar Smolovic, apart from not reporting the said addition to the salary, has not either reported the change of function to the APC, to which he is obligated by the Law on Prevention of Corruption.
CCE has, furthermore, called upon APC to perform a check of credibility of also all other reports on incomes and assets of public officials and to initiate a proceeding against all who have not submitted the same so far. We remind, the Law envisages a sanction in the form of a fine ranging from 500.00 to 2000.00 EUR for failure to report accurate and full information of public officials on incomes obtained by performance of activities.
CCE assesses that it is especially concernig when the law is not respected even by those who are adopting it, since thus a message is being sent to citizens that there are those who are above the law and who do not bear responsibility for their actions. Considering also the Law in question, this also sends political message of unwillingness to accept rules in a manner that they apply the same both for political decision-makers as well as for other citizens. This is concerning also in the context of continuous assessments by domestic and international organisations, and especially EU institutions, about the pervasive and endemic corruption in Montenegro and political captivity of institutions. Therefore, by no means could it be left to MPs for personal choice and conscience to decide which incomes prescribed by the law as obligatory to be reported will they report and which not, since both essence and principle of prevention and fight against corruption are thus being annulled.
CCE expects of APC to act in due time and in proper manner upon the submitted initiative and non-selectively sanction civil servants who have violated the Law on Prevention of Corruption.
Zeljka Cetkovic, Programme Associate