Data lost in translation

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) calls upon the Agency for Prevention of Corruption (APC) to make final decisions on all cases about MPs on whose violation of the law the CCE indicated through the Initiative sent to the APC almost 30 months ago, as they did not report correct, complete and precise data in the income and assets reports for 2017.

The CCE received from the APC, the day after the Parliamentary election, decisions firstly for six, and then for additional two MPs in which it established violation of Article 23, paragraph 2 of the Law on Prevention of Corruption. Also, in meantime, we successively got decisions in seven cases in which APC through rather strange methodology determined that those MPs did not violate the law.  This mostly applies to former MPs of then governing structure – Mićo Orlandić, Milorad Vuletić, Miodrag Radunović, Nedžad Drešević, Branko Čavor, Andrija Popović and Andrijan Vuksanović.

Even after two and half years, the APC did not determine responsability in 10 cases, ie. in cases of Branimir Gvozdenović, Obrad Stanišić, Andrija Nikolić, Mirsad Mulić, Maja Bakrač, Predrag Sekulić, Nikola Rakočević, Jovanka Laličić, Radule Novović and Ervin Ibrahimović.

The CCE submitted an Initiative against 25 then MPs of governing structure based on the fact that data about income and assets in these reports aren’t correct and complete, which includes preciseness of those data for the interested public to be able to have complete information about the amount, sources and bases of public official’s income. After all, this is the main purpose of those reports.

There is no doubt that the cumulative merging and entering of data in reports is not and it cannot be correct and complete information published according to the Law, and further, it violates the right of the public to know the actual public official’s income and their structure, ie. what is the salary, and what are the variables and fees paid on the other bases.

The CCE considers that the APS’s role is not to protect public officials who violate the Law on Protection of Corruption by manipulatively applying other laws to allow inaccuracies in income and assets report. Also, the APC, by keeping these cases in drawers, prevented an effective sanction and caused that now only in some cases, formally determines the responsibility that is not followed by any negative consequences for those public officials.

CCE states that staff changes in the APC have not led to different attitudes towards most public officials so far, and especially not towards those who are perceived as politically powerful.

The APC has to start applying the law consistently and timely to have the functioning of this institution in the public interest. The case of these MPs is one of the benchmarks of the APC’s work, both in previous and the new governing structure, and that exam both failed because they put the interest of the party before the public interest.

Snežana Kaluđerović, senior legal adviser