Combating corruption, a step closer to the EU

Fighting corruption is a step closer to the EU, it was said at the XIII National anticorruption conference organized by Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector (MANS), at the hotel CentreVile, in Podgorica.
The minister of internal affairs, Mevludin Nuhodžić, said that it was a duty of every representative of executive power not to find excuses for corruption, which was to a greater or lesser degree present in any given country, but to point to the fact that government was ready to cooperate by addressing its weaknesses, as well as willingness to improve social conditions by institutional strengthening.
First, we had to disclose of all relevant facts pertaining to current trends and achievements of Montenegrin society in a fight against corruption in general. It was evident that we had opposing opinions on such subjects, sometimes even diametrically opposing, Nuhodžić said.
In the latest, unofficial EU Commission document reporting on progress of Montenegro in chapters 23 and 24, presented twenty days ago, it was emphasized that the document was based on data collected from both the government and NGO sector. Thirty public servants resigned and the ruling party was fined during parliamentary elections in 2016 for breaking the law. The Agency for Prevention of Corruption analyzed data on legal integrity efficiency. The government prepared law amendment on public procurement to make provision for electronic procurement software, Nuhodžić said.
In the document, European commission concluded that the criminal procedure inquests in the cases of high corruption should lead to charges brought up against suspects. Two persons were convicted of high corruption offenses, twenty natural persons and two legal entities were accused of high corruption offenses and the malfeasance. Furthermore, there were four criminal investigations initiated in the cases of high corruption against eight natural persons and one legal entity and during the first half of the year, illegally gained material worth Euro 3 million was temporarily confiscated. There were other eight cases of initiated criminal investigations of high corruptions, Nuhodžić said.
It was important to mention negative remarks of the European Commission in regard to fight against corruption in terms of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption independence. The results of thorough investigations into illegally acquired property and of identifying the origin of property were still poor. The lobbying activities still taking place outside legal framework. The impact of the exercise of law enforcement on freedom of press was not strong enough to ensure transparency and responsibility of public servants. High corruption investigation cases should be further consolidated, which is not possible without financial investigations initiated systematically and in early phases, Nuhodžić said.
This was a general view of the EC on Montenegro. The government found this document to be very helpful analysis of our society and would use it as a helping tool in taking further steps and undertaking activities that were essential on our way to meet European standards, Nuhodžić said.
Chief negotiator with the EU, Aleksandar Drljević, stated that the fight against corruption was one of the main prerequisites to achieving full democratic potential capacity of the society. He also said that, despite the challenges Europe has faced lately, the state was dedicated to achieving full EU membership, which would enable better standard of living for all citizens. He saw stable and strong rule of law as pillars of democratic society, but at the same time the most challenging task for a government to achieve, Drljević said.
He said that the additional confirmation of our efforts was the recent news on approval of the Chapter 8, Opening Benchmark Assessment Report, as a precondition for the last chapter of the acquis, Drljević said.
The ambassador of the EU to Montenegro, Aivo Orav, said that the corruption is directly opposite to fundamental political, economic, social values. Its effects are serious and widespread. That undermines the rule of law, has a negative impact on investments, undermines confidence in institutions and creates fertile ground for organized crime, Orav said.
He said that transparent institutions, responsible institutions and a strong rule of law were essential components for preventing corruption. Montenegro reached certain degree in this field since it opened negotiation process with the EU. But, corruption continued to cause concerns ant it was widespread in certain areas, Orav said.
He added that additional efforts were needed when fighting corruption, including more transparency in all areas subject to corruption. It was necessary to work on consolidation of initial investigation, prosecution and conviction records. He stressed out that the independence of all relevant institutions should be guaranteed, including the Agency for Prevention of Corruption.
German ambassador to Montenegro, Robert Weber, said that everyone should be included in a fight against corruption. He said that corruption had many sides, but the most visible one was the one in politics, although the corruption in everyday life should not be undermined, either.
According to him, previous experiences proved that eradicating the root causes of corruption was the most efficient method, as well as criminal investigations, and where politicians should serve as examples.
Public servants should be awarded for their work; transparent criteria should be established and therefore diminish the chances for corruption, Veber said.
The ambassador of the United Kingdom to Montenegro, Allison Kemp, said that the system should serve to its citizens. She said that there was no state free of corruption, but that that should not be an excuse and it should definitely not be tolerated.
She emphasized the importance of eradicating corruption, particularly for the future generations deciding to stay in Montenegro, attract investments, achieve economic growth and improve the quality of life on its way to the EU.
Vanja Ćalović, the chief director of MANS, said that wherever existed political corruption there was corruption on high levels, which created a vicious circle. The affair Envelope was the best example of politics, crime and business links. We were not talking about legitimately acquired money, but the money obtained unlawfully and immorally.
Those who come to power owing to unlawfully obtained money made decisions in the interest of the people who financed them and not in the interest of the state and the citizens. The government elected in such a way wrote the laws, implemented reforms in the interest of private interests, which enabled that government to remain on power, continue to enrich the selected few and consequently avoid justice. The judiciary system was, as she said, absolutely ruined, from the top to the bottom and that the Agency for Prevention of Corruption was a synonym for obscurity. She also stated that the ruling coalition was about to change the legislative law which would mean that political parties were not obligated to disclose financial records. If the state was willing to fight corruption, it would have to criminalize unlawfully obtained money, unlawful financing of political parties, filing false reports and financing from overboard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *