Why is the Prosecution hiding unlawfulness at the Faculty of Philosophy of UoM?

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) finds as difficult to understand that the Basic State Prosecution in Niksic did not find the basis for initiating proceedings, based on the criminal charges filed by the CCE against persons responsible for unlawful conduct in the operations of the Faculty of Philosophy of University of Montenegro (UoM).

For a reason unknown to the CCE, Prosecutor’s Office took more than three years to make such a decision, although the deadline for acting on charge is three months, and due to the complexity of the case may be six months, which is why the principle of timely decision-making has been violated. It is also worth noting that the notice of Basic State Prosecution in Niksic regarding the dismissal of the criminal charge traveled from Niksic to Podgorica for almost three months or as much as it was realistically necessary for the Prosecutor’s Office to decide on the merits of the criminal charge.

As a reminder, in 2015, the CCE sent to the Basic State Prosecutor in Podgorica documentation relating to the internal audit findings on the financial operations of the Faculty of Philosophy of UoM, which undoubtedly indicates to the concerning extent of the illegality in the functioning of the Faculty of Philosophy of UoM. We believed that it required an urgent response from the competent authorities, identifying and sanctioning of responsible persons. More specifically, from 10 March to 9 April 2015, the CCE filed a criminal charge with two annexes and evidence material to the Prosecution. Along with an earlier notice, based on the interest of the CCE, that the case was redirected to Basic State Prosecution in Niksic as being authorised based on location, after more than three years we received rejection of this charge without content based explanation and with the instructions that “if you are not satisfied with the decision of this Prosecutor, you have the right to file a criminal charge against a person you consider as responsible for a particular criminal offense”.

Therefore, it comes out that Prosecution does not find as disputable that the Faculty of Philosophy had been taking loans in irresponsible manner for years, and these loans were presented in their reports as revenue, thereby violating basic accounting rules and procedures, plus it used the same loans for the payment of costs that were listed as necessity. Furthermore, the inadequate spending of funds intended for taxes and contributions led to an accumulated tax debt of € 726,111.42 for 2011 and 2012, whereby 83.54% of that debt being due to inappropriate spending. This is only a part of the irregularities because the list is almost inexhaustible, and despite the public warnings of the CCE and this criminal charge, nobody was taken as responsible so far.

The CCE considers as unacceptable the conclusion by which the Prosecution abolished the offenders responsible for such malversations at the Faculty of Philosophy of UoM. The question is also on which basis and whose professional opinion the findings of internal audits of the UoM have been annulled by the Prosecutor in order to conclude that there are no elements of the criminal offense in the filed complaint, which was entirely based on the UoM internal audit documentation. If the UoM’s internal auditors erroneously determined the situation, then would not it be a reason to open proceedings against them? However, We do believe that they did their job well, but that their findings were not abolished by the power of facts and evidence, but by some other elements that should not be present in the decision making process within the Prosecutor’s Office.

It is even more unacceptable that the Prosecution had practically held this case in the drawer for three years. And it is a special irony that CCE is directed to do the work that the Prosecution did not do even though it was obliged.

The CCE will not do the job of any state institution, but we will point to their failures precisely because their work and responsibilities can not and should not be carried out by anyone other than them. Hence, we appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office to seriously address the evident problem of financial management at UoM and its organizational units, and consequently to determine and individually process the offenders in accordance with the law. That would  not only achieve repressive effects in relation to the violation of the law but the preventive one as well  for all those who feel protected and perhaps still conduct such malversations. Indeed, that covers also re-examining of this case. Otherwise, we will have evidence that in the case of illegal business operations at the Faculty of Philosophy of UoM, besides directly involved and accountable at this Faculty, we also have UoM and the Prosecutor’s Office as the ones that abolish directly responsible persons and hide unlawfulness.

Mira Popović, Programme associate