Centre for Civic Education (CCE) sent to the State Audit Institution (SAI) a formal Initiative to include into its 2021 Audit plan an audit of the financial operations of the University of Montenegro (UoM).
The CCE points to the fact that for a decade, the UoM’s financial statements have not been audited by the SAI, even though it is considerable and growing budget beneficiary for which there were many of our calls, public allegations, but also the findings of the UoM’s internal audit for the SAI’s actions. Only from 2015 to 2020, close to 110 million euros were allocated from the Budget to UoM. Within our long-term monitoring of the UoM’s work, as the oldest higher education institution in Montenegro, which is also on the Budget of Montenegro, we argued the need for the financial audit of the UoM by the SAI, but also the need for external audit. In the last two years, we have explained this in our publications, such as “University walls – analysis of transparency of the functioning of higher education institutions in Montenegro” from 2018 or “Financial alchemy of the University of Montenegro – an insight into the financing of the UoM from 2015 to 2019“ from 2020. Only after the public presentation of our latest analysis, produced within the project “Financing higher education under magnifier”, with the support of the Centre for Civil Initiatives and the EU, the Rector and the President of the Managing Board of the UoM invited the SAI to conduct an audit of the UoM. Therefore, we have decided to formalize our Initiative and to submit to the SAI material that can be useful in deciding on the 2021 Audit plan.
CCE welcomes the statement of the member of the Senate of the SAI, Branislav Radulović, given to the daily “Dan” that ”as the directly competent member of the SAI Senate and the Head of the department within which the UoM’s audit can be done, propose an audit of the financial reports of the University of Montenegro for 2020”. We hope that this will be the majority stand of the SAI Senate and that UoM will be one of the first subjects of the SAI audit in 2021.
CCE continuously pointed out that UoM has massive funds from the Budget and that this is not accompanied by adequate responsibility of the management. Besides, some data indicated that there was material for the professional interest of the Prosecution, which we processed accordingly in cases for which we had evidence.
UoM is requesting from the Government 24.8 million euros from the 2021 Budget, which is about four million more than this year. We remark that the increase of the budget of UoM is inversely proportional to the data transparency related to financial management at UoM. We experienced that on the occasion as drafting the last analysis. But, despite all the limitations concerning the availability of material, we have noted a number of reasons that should draw the SAI’s attention. Finally, the CCE reminds that the content of the UoM’s internal audit reports, which UoM hides, is such that there have long been many reasons for the Government to conduct an external audit.
Snežana Kaluđerović, Senior Legal Adviser