The Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (ASK) adopted a Decision stating that the member of the Senate of the State Audit Institution (SAI), Zoran Jelić, is not in conflict of interest due to his engagement with the Prva banka Crne Gore as a member of the Audit Board for more than nine months during which he earned nearly 6.000 euros. Thus, the Agency stood in defence of yet another DPS official and proved its political bias and selective approach in the application of law, in regard to which we expressed our concerns on several occasions.
The Agency for the Prevention of Corruption published yesterday Decision stating that Zoran Jelić did not violate the Law on the Prevention of Corruption by being engaged at Prva banka Crne Gore as a member of the Audit Board in the period from 17 March to 28 December 2017, during which he received a monthly compensation of 650 euros or 5.850 euros in total.
With the Decision, the Agency also found that Zoran Jelić did not violate the Law on the Prevention of Corruption by not reporting in its asset declaration shareholding in “ET KOM”, company in which he is one of the founders, according to the data from the Central Register of Business Entities (CRPS). The Agency adopted the Decision based on our Request for initiating procedure for determining violation of the Law on the Prevention of Corruption in the part referring to completeness and accuracy of data in income and assets report and determining conflict of interest and restrictions in the exercise of public functions, dated 12th and 19thMarch 2018
We believe that by adopting this decision, the Agency once again stood in defence of party interests of the DPS cadre by turning the blind eye to the apparent conflict of interest of a member of the SAI Senate, Zoran Jelić, who by his membership in the Audit Board of Prva Banka provided himself material gain and subordinated public to private interest.
It is stated in the Agency Decision “pursuant to Article 9 of the Law on Prevention of Corruption, Zoran Jelić may be engaged in scientific, educational, cultural, artistic and sports activities and acquire income and report to the Agency accurate and complete data on income acquired through the exercise of these activities or tasks, given that the aforementioned is not prohibited by the Law on the State Audit Institution”.
However, membership in the Audit Board of the Prva banka Crne Gore cannot, under any circumstances, be considered as any of the activities stated in the Agency’s Decision. On the contrary, the membership in the Audit Board is indisputably professional activity, which is prohibited by the Law on the State Auditing Institution in Article 35, which we pointed out in our submission to the Agency. This is supported also by the Article 39 of the Law on Banks stipulating a wide range of competencies and obligations of a member of the Audit Board, and by the fact that Jelić received a monthly compensation in the amount of 650 euros on the basis of performing the job. However, nowhere in its Decision has the Agency dealt with this fact, which is indisputable and evident, and which would in itself be sufficient to establish a conflict between public and private interest of Zoran Jelić.
Likewise, the Agency did not address our allegations that, as a member of the Audit Board of Prva banka, by performing this demanding job on the basis of which he received compensation and achieved material gain, contrary to Article 41 of the Law on SAI Zoran Jelić raised doubts that he is neglecting fulfilment of his public task (as a member of the SAI Senate) in favour of private-economic interests (as a member of the Audit Board of Prva banka) and that contrary to Article 7 paragraph 1 of the Law on the Prevention of Corruption he subordinated public to private interest.
When it comes to the fact that Zoran Jelić did not report the company “ET KOM” in his asset declaration, the Agency Decision states that Zoran Jelić proved in the course of proceedings that the founders of this business entity initiated voluntary liquidation procedure in 2003, which the liquidator was supposed to execute and accordingly request deletion of the company “ET KOM” from the CRPS. However, the liquidator has not done so until the Agency initiated proceedings against Jelić, pursuant to our request. Thus, the Decision on voluntary liquidation was completed on March 22nd 2018 – 15 years after the Decision was made. Until then, the company “ET KOM” was registered in the Central Register of Business Entities, which means that the company formally existed, and Jelić, as one of its founders, did not report the share in this company in his asset declaration. Still, the Agency claims that Jelić did not violate the Law on the Prevention of Corruption by not reporting complete and accurate data in the income and assets report.
Finally, it is symptomatic that the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption has for two years resisted our persistent insistence to publish all the decisions made in its proceedings, arguing that publishing decisions that do not determine violations of the Law on the Prevention of Corruption without the consent of a public official to whom the decision refers to, would be contrary to paragraph 2, Article 39 of the Law.
However, this time they acted in a different manner. Namely, the Agency published the Decision stating that Zoran Jelić did not violate the Law on the Prevention of Corruption and thereby demonstrated that transparency is not a problem when it serves exclusively party interests of DPS and protection of individuals from the party ranks, which is obviously the primary purpose of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption.
President of the Managing Board
Request for initiating the procedure against Zoran Jelić, Member of the Senate of the State Audit Institution, for determining the violation of the Law on Prevention of Corruption with regard to completeness and accuracy of the data disclosed in the income and assets reports and for determining conflict of interest in the exercise of public functions and restrictions in the exercise of public functions