UoM to publish required information on financial operations instead of “packed nothing”

Unsigned reaction of the University of Montenegro (UoM) represents another “packed nothing” and does not deny the indisputable facts to which the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) pointed out by presenting the analysis “Financial alchemy of UoM – insight into the financing of UoM from 2015 to 2019”. However, for the sake of the public, we will explain what the UoM is trying to do with this clumsy replacement of theses.

Firstly, the CCE does not claim that UoM has not formally acted in accordance with the Free Acees to Information Law in the part of the response to the requested information. However, we responsibly claim that the UoM’s management essentially blocked access to these information, allowing only insight, as the have the documention in electronic format or could have make copies and we would pay the appropriate costs. Permission to just take a look at the hundreds of papers that require serious analysis makes pointless access to these information. Namely, that type of access to information is performed only in the case of establishing the fact that the requested information really exists, while in the case of analysis of the information, it must, when already approved, be submitted in the format required by the request.

Secondly, the CCE has not stated “that the Government of Montenegro has so far not conducted an independent external audit through the State Audit Institution (SAI).” On the contrary, the CCE clearly states that SAI in the Report on the Efficiency of Internal Audit in the Public Sector from 2017 included the UoM and determined that the UoM did not provide the unit for internal audit functional independence in lin with international standards and the Law, then that the unit does not have enough capacity, as well as that it performs audits exclusively by order of the Managing Board and the Rector.

Thirdly, the UoM emphasizes that “UoM is subject to regular control and other competent inspection bodies and that so far we have not had a single negative report.” That is not true as the UoM published information about the negative report of the Internal Audit Service on the work of the Faculty of Philosophy in the Bulletin 476 from 21/11/2019 which indicates number of irregularities. Proof of UoM’s transparency would be to make this report integrally available to the public, instead of hiding it.

Fourthly, on the UoM website there is neither consolidated financial plan in the form as prescribed by the Statute of the UoM , but only a summary financial plan of the UoM, nor financial statements prescribed by the Statute of UoM in section of the financial statements but only reports on cash flows IV and outstanding liabilities as summary statements of incomes and expenditures, i.e. outstanding liabilities of organizational units of UCG by years, without individual financial reports of these organizational units. We understood from the UoM’s management attempt to explain this that they do not work in accordance with their statute and they justify that by stating that they work in accordance with the law. This requires attention by the competent authorities as the Statute of UoM is equally binding for the management as all other legal acts.

At the end, we call on the UoM’s management to dedicate at least half of the agility which it demonstrates when attacking the CCE to its legal work, to stopping practice of legal acrobatics in hiding information and to making its financial operations transparent, but also to communicate with the public directly and answer specific questions instead of hiding behind unsigned statements. We believe that it is clear to the public whose side the arguments are on, as it was clear when we opened the Lakićević-Đuranović case and when the same UoM’s management attacked us rudely instead of effectively processing this extreme case of academic integrity violation.

Snežana Kaluđerovic, Senior Legal Adviser