Prime Minister and the Anti-Corruption Agency should implement the Constitution And Law in case Pejović

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) submitted the initiative to the President of the Government of Montenegro, Duško Marković, for starting the procedure of dismissal of Aleksandar Andrija Pejović from duty due to the violation of the Constitution in relation incompatibility of the office, as well as the request to the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) for starting the procedure against Pejović for determining conflict of interest and limitations in performing public duties.

Aleksandar Andrija Pejović is minister of European affairs in the Government of Montenegro and Chief negotiator for accession negotiations of Montenegro and European Union with function of ambassador. Hence, he is performing two public duties at the same time, and respectively receives parallel incomes for both functions. That is not in accordance with the Article 104 of the Constitution of Montenegro which prescribes that «The Prime Minister and the member of the Government shall not perform duties of a Member of the Parliament or other public duties, or professionally perform some other activity. » Furthermore, Pejović violates Articles 7, 9 and 23 of the Anti-Corruption Law, as he is performing two public duties, and he didn’t report all incomes he received on that basis when he assumed another duty, which was mandatory 30 days from the day of the appointment, although the incomes are multiple times higher than those reported in his assets available to the public.

CCE pointed out to ACA on Pejović’s status as ambassador to which the Government as a body of authority gave consent through the adoption of an unconstitutional and unlawful Decision Amending the Decision on Establishing the Structure for Accession Negotiations of Montenegro with European Union and on that basis additional incomes were received through a Decision on Special Benefits in addition to a Fixed Part of Salary.

Furthermore, Pejović is also member of the Main Board of Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and President of the Commission for International cooperation, European and Euro-Atlantic Integrations of the DPS, while at the same time being  listed as a person who has the status of an ambassador on Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ registry. The Law on Foreign Affairs prescribes in Article 109 that « Diplomat can not be a member of a political party body», thus Pejovic also violates the Law on Foreign Affairs because he is also a senior DPS official and therefore can not be an ambassador in accordance with Montenegrin legislation.

Finally, it is difficult to determine from all Pejović’s public duties to whom is he responsible as the Chief negotiator / ambassador – whether to himself as the Minister of European Affairs or to the colleague minister of Minister of Foreign Affairs or his party chief? Such a situation questions public interest because if he is responsible to himself, and the ambassadors are not directly responsible to the Prime Minister but to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, emphasizing that the ambassador’s duty is directly related to the position of the Chief negotiator then the issue of conflict of interest emerges in the sense of paragraph 2, Article 7: “A conflict of interest in performing a public duty exists when the private interest of a public official affects or may affect the impartiality of a public official in performing public duty.” Also, when traveling abroad and having party meetings, the following question appears: who actually covers the expenses of these meetings, or whether he is spending the money of taxpayers representing public or party interest?

It is also clear that a person can not be in more than one place at the same time and perform multiple duties in the full capacity responsibly and of a high quality, of which at least two duties are in the rank of a public official in different countries and are paid separately.

For all the allegations, the CCE submitted complete documentation to the Prime Minister and the ACA, requesting the Prime Minister to comply with his authorities to protect the constitutional framework and to prevent the incompatibility of the functions prescribed by the Constitution, all with the aim to protect the principle of the rule of law. Also, the CCE expects ACA to act efficiently, as we have had the opportunity to see in the past few months when it comes to some other similar cases, notwithstanding to a much smaller extent of conflict of interest or potential conflicts of interest, and make a decision related to Pejović regardless of the fact that he is a high official of the ruling party.

Ana Nenezić, Democratization and Europeanization Programme Coordinator