Institute Alternative (IA) is a member of the regional network POINTPULSE which deals with corruption risks at MoI/Police Administration. During this year, we will be working on the new research and publish the third Assessment of Police Integrity in a row, based on the same methodology that will be used by our colleagues in five countries from the region.
I mention this in particular, because the MoI analysis contains numerous issues that IA has been pointing out, at least during the past three years, so the question of the lack of concrete actions to improve the state of affairs naturally occurs. For example, the question arises regarding the lack of implementation of recommendations for the improvement of work of internal control and institutional model for determining disciplinary accountability.
However, not only that there has been no improvement, but in certain issues there is an evident backsliding.
More precisely, MoI analysis (from 2016) contains certain appraisals regarding public procurement and free access to information – which backslided in the meantime. Namely, the Government and the Parliament amended these laws for the worse during the year, at the account of expanding the space for misuse of public procurement and data secrecy by the authorities. What is even more worrisome is the tendency not to stop there, but to also amend other laws and turn them into their previous form from several years ago (such as the Law on Public Assembly which is under MoI authority).
I agree with the MoI analysis’ recommendation that “it is necessary to introduce the obligation of property reporting and private interests for the persons employed in corruption-sensitive positions, which should include the position of state employees besides police officers (at the Ministry)“. Going a step further, within the working group for the Law on Internal Affairs, we advocate for the authority of internal control to be expanded to the employees at the Ministry whose positions are recognised as highly risky for corruption according to the Integrity Plan of MoI.
An additional reason for that lies in the fact that the Police does not perform public procurement on its own, nor does it manage its finance, but the Ministry does it instead. And having in mind that the affairs “Limenka“, “Zlatica“, “Police Administration building“, etc. occurred within Police-MoI relation, it is clear that there is a necessity for more strict supervision for greater value procurement at this ministry.
The legal solution that we advocate for is expanding the internal control authority to the employees at MoI, which exists in Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, and it remains to be seen how ready is Montenegrin MoI for taking the necessary steps for reform.
Even though the MoI analysis recognises that state property administration represents an extreme corruption risk, from 2010 there is no functional register of state property which is something our organisation has been pointing out for years.
It would be of use if MoI would also publish, besides this analysis, what has been done based on provided recommendations and to integrate the recommendations in its strategic documents.
Public Policy Researcher