Centre for Civic Education (CCE) points out that more than half of the members of the Government did not give their consent to accessing their bank account data within the submitted Reports on income and assets, and the fact that the Report on income and assets of the Deputy Prime Minister is not available on the website of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption (APC). This is not an expected practice or a change promised during the election campaign of the new ruling majority.
The fact is that the Law on Prevention of Corruption stipulates that for verification of the data from the Report, the public official may give consent to the Agency to access his/her data on bank accounts and accounts of other financial institutions, in accordance with the law governing banking operations. This means that none of the seven members of the Government violated the law by not giving their consent.
However, this also means that those members of the Government who exercises the option not to give consent to access his/her data on bank account contradict the proclaimed principle of transparency in the work of the Government. Thus we have the continuity of the bad practice of the previous authorities, which was often and justifiably criticized by the former opposition.
Therefore, the CCE proposes urgent amendments to the Law on Prevention of Corruption which refers to conditions for the election of members of the APC Council to strengthen this body and make it more trustful, as we have pointed out before, but also to prescribing mandatory rather than optional consent to access data on bank account because this provision makes the control function of APC meaningless. To ensure effective transparency and public interest, access to bank accounts data should be made mandatory for all public officials while protecting against data misuse following international standards.
At the political level, this is also an indicator of how much public officials are ready to demonstrate their commitment to transparency through their actions, in which, unfortunately, neither the former nor the current government has shown sufficient commitment.
The CCE also points to the fact that a large number of deputies, both the new parliamentary majority and the opposition, did not submit reports on income and assets within the deadline set by the law, i.e. 30 days from assuming the function, which for unknown reasons the Agency does not control or react accordingly.
Vasilije Radulović, Programme associate