Centre for Civic Education (CCE) published the data on incomes of the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare in its research, “How much executives in public administration bodies earned in 2012?” based on the information which, on the request for free access for information, received from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare directly. Therefore, all confusions, and it seems that there are more of these than we, in the CCE, had primarily identified, in claims of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the former Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and the current Minister of Human and Minority Rights, Suad Numanović should be clarified amongst them. In addition, both the CCE and the public deserve a clear, evidence-based response, and taking of adequate responsibility of the party that did not provide truthful data in this case.
Namely, the CCE submitted, on 3 June 2013, as part of the research, “How much executives in public administration bodies earned in 2012?” simple questions to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, as follows:
- How much executives within the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, e.g. Minister, Secretary of the Ministry, Assistant Ministers, Acting Assistant Ministers, chief of cabinet, spokesman, chief of departments etc. earned in net in 2012 – list of them with the total annual amounts or per month for the entire 2012;
- A list of all other remunerations for the same persons in 2012, on any basis in net amounts (e.g. fees paid for work in the various working groups, commissions, etc.), per month or per year with an indication on what basis is the amount paid for, which the respected Ministry submitted in its response on 10/06/2013.
So, the questions are related to net earnings and other paid amounts, which can be easily found in any elementary organized accounting department, which the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare should have, especially having in mind the complex operations it performs, the budget at its disposal and number of allegations in the media that the same was abused so the ruling party would get its voters. The story that emerged in recent days opens a lot of confusion:
- It is unclear why the persons responsible for the processing of this information in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare dealt with website of the Commission for the Prevention of Conflict of Interest, when this is the information that they, like any of other 45 state bodies whom CCE sent the same request, must have in its own documentation;
- It is unclear how the mistake could happen in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, about which the same Ministry never informed directly CCE to which was given the wrong information but we found out about their “additional clarification” from the media and the letter of the Minister of Human and Minority Rights Suad Numanović who addressed the CCE by forwarding a letter that he, not CCE, received from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare;
- It is unclear, because of all of the above, whether the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare is consciously trying, in light of the announced government reconstruction, to take advantage of the NGO sector and media to spin certain information about Numanović that afterwards they deny by rather unconvincing justifications;
- It is unclear also why the data that Numanović submitted to the Commission for Prevention of Conflict of Interest and those that the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare gives in the part of the net salaries do not match;
- Finally, it is unclear why Numanović simply do not present to the public his bank statements for 2012 that would be the best argument to prove his position and explain the differences in net salary and other fees between the cardboard of the Commission for Prevention of Conflict of interest and those publicized by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
It is clear, unfortunately, that once again is shown that at least one of the institutions or the executives of the Government of Montenegro do not provide true information, which only further decrease public trust in institutions and strengthen the NGO sector and the media that are trying to emphasize the need for the public to know, to gain undisputed data, and finally, calls for the responsibility of the side who made mistakes.
In this case, the public does not know yet, we have plenty of the inconsistent data that are only confusing, and it seems that the representatives of the Government do not feel any need to take responsibility that for a week citizens of Montenegro can not get the final figure of the payrolll of one minister during 2012.
Vladimir Vučković, Programme Assistant