The appeal of the five NGO’s to the State Prosecutor’s Office to inform the public about the actions that have been undertaken regarding the reports that the SAI has officially submitted to the State Prosecutor’s Office
In eight cases, The State Audit Institution (SAI) has submitted particularly worrying audit reports to the State Prosecutor’s Office. Today we have submitted an initiative to the Supreme State Prosecutor to inform the public about the actions undertaken in relation to these reports, but also about other SAI’s reports that are publicly available.
We demand that thee public must be informed about:
• how many binding orders for checks have been referred to the Police related to the allegations in the reports, how many notifications have been collected and submitted to the prosecutors;
• how many persons have been interrogated;
• how many orders on the conduct of investigation, indictments proposals or indictments have been issued, based on the collected data;
• Out of eight reports submitted, how many of them have been “dismissed” because the investigation showed that there is no criminal offence in the documented violations of the law?
The eight submitted reports were the audit reports on the Institute of Textbooks and Teaching Aids, Center for Contemporary Arts, Center for Vocational Education, Radio and Television of Montenegro (public service), University of Montenegro, Montenegrin National Theater, Democratic Party and the audit report on state guarantees. These audited entities have mainly received the adverse opinion of the SAI and demonstrated some of the worst images of how spending units are spending the money of the taxpayers. Each of the eight reports contains alarming data about enormous amounts irregularly presented in the financial statements, budget overspending, misuse of budget funds, concluding illegal and harmful contracts, illegal actions, omissions in public procurement procedures, etc. Among the SAI reports delivered to the State Prosecutor’s Office is also the Audit Report on State Guarantees which contains evidence that the actions of the state authorities and individuals have jeopardised the public interest and the stability of the budget.
After completing the audit and publishing the final audit report, the SAI has been delivering these reports to the prosecution in order to determine the possible existence of the criminal offence. Considering the repeatedly proclaimed cautious policy of the SAI towards this matter, formal submission of the reports to the State Prosecutor’s Office could be regarded as a de facto criminal charge. The act of submission of reports to the State Prosecutor’s Office shows that there is awareness that situation observed in these state authorities is in the zone of criminal responsibility.
Even though some of these reports are more than five years old, we still do not know what the State Prosecutor’s Office has done with them. Even the state auditors have no information about the prosecution’s follow up, because they are not obligated to inform them.
Therefore, wanting to encourage accountability for such a conduct with public funds, we urge the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office to inform the public about the actions it took in order to investigate the existence of the criminal offence in these cases highlighted by SAI.
Also, we call upon the Supreme State Prosecutor to determine the eventual responsibility of the state prosecutors who ignored these reports.
Any negative opinion of the SAI should serve as a signal for the prosecution to proactively investigate possible abuses and criminal offences. Every failure to act when the SAI report is formally submitted, may suggest that there is lack of expertise, lack of interest or lack of will on the part of the competent prosecutors to determine responsibility for the committed criminal offences.
Stevo Muk, president of the Managing Board of Institute Alternative (IA)
Tea Gorjanc-Prelević, executive director of the Human Rights Action (HRA)
Daliborka Uljarević, executive director of the Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Ana Novaković, executive director of the Center for Development of NGOs (CDNGOs)
Zlatko Vujović, president of the Managing Board of the Centre for Monitoring and Research (CEMI)