Reforms as the only way to settled and decent society

Implementation of reforms is the only way to settled and decent society, Daliborka Uljarević, executive director of the CGO said at the “How to cure society of corruption?” conference that was held at the hotel Podgorica in Podgorica, on 10. 02. 2020.

The conference was organized within the framework of the “Fight against corruption” project, realized by the Politikon Network, with the aim to communicate municipalities’ fight against corruption and anti-corruption mechanisms.

The executive director of the Politikon Network, Jovana Marović, said that the focus of their research were practices National Audit Institute recommended to municipalities and the municipalities’ response to the same. “Included in the research were the municipalities of Kotor, Tivat and Kolašin, where in two, out of three municipalities the opposition parties took control over local government. We wanted to know if the ruling pattern was the same as it had been in the past, meaning party membership being the prerequisite for employment”, Marović said. According to her, the results of the research were not positive. “We tried as any ordinary citizen to get the information through the official municipality website, but found nothing we were interested in, and therefore we concluded that the information was concealed”, Marović said.

According to her, the municipality of Tivat is a real-life example, where number of employees has doubled since 2015. “We wanted to know why employment on local level was not planned and why some municipalities were called out for excessive employment rate”, Marović said.

The executive director of the Center for Civic Education (CGO), Daliborka Uljarević, said that both citizens and institutions were much more optimistic back in 2012, when we started the negotiations with the EU. “Back then, the Supreme State Prosecutor was elected by the majority in Parliament, including the votes of the opposition, which would not be possible in present time”, Uljarević said
As she said, those were the times when Montenegro had “high hopes” of the special prosecutor. “Today, the prosecutor’s office is run by people who have no integrity and as a consequence the fight against organized crime and corruption does not give any results”, Uljarević says.

According to her, the second pillar of the fight against corruption should be the Anti-Corruption Agency. “Today, we as a society are absolutely sure that the Agency won’t make any progress until the political will changes”, Uljarević says. She recalled the period when Svetozar Marović, a powerful official, was arrested, but the whole case became “a farse”. “Today, we have a real problem, which has been covered up for quite some time by technical advances, which is to say that the limits of monopoly power have been tested and the society in general depends on political will”, Uljarević says.

Uljarević said that the prosecutor‘s office had a selective approach to top officials and to persons associated with them. “When they come to the office they are received as guests of honor instead of being questioned and treated as defendants”, Uljarević says.
As she says, even officials admit that the citizens have no confidence in prosecution. “Therefore, we have to ask ourselves who has supported and elected these people and who is responsible for all of this. Since there is no responsibility, no changes could be expected”, Uljarević says.

She said that the reforms were the only way to a decent society and for things to normalize.

Siniša Luković, the journalist from Vijesti, says that each time he has tried to write an argumentative text on anything coming from Tivat, he would either meet the silence, or receive official denial. “I came to the point where no associate of current mayor is allowed to talk to me and answer my questions until I apologize for falsely reporting on certain misdeeds committed by them; but, that apology can wait”, adds Luković.

“Anti-corruption Acton” project is supported by the “Send corruption to museum” program, which is implemented by CGO in cooperation with other NGO’s.

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