Urgent and coordinated action of Administrative Committee of the Parliament of Montenegro and Agency for Prevention of Corruption (APC), upon “anonymous” reports regarding potential conflict of interest of members of the RTCG Council, is raising our suspicion and concern that this is a politically-instructed action of both organs ordered by the ruling party, with an objective to return RTCG back under their direct control. Therefore, after the announcement of procedure for dismissal in the Committee of the Parliament managed by DPS, we invite domestic and international public to carefully follow further development of this situation and conduct of Administrative Committee, which should now determine itself upon decisions of Agency for Prevention of Corruption.
This suspicion is based on the selectivity of the conduct of both aforementioned organs.
Administrative Committee has in previous years, especially in procedures of election and appointment to various organs and agencies, demonstrated crude violation of the law, which was also confirmed by verdicts of judicial organs. Thus, the Administrative Committee has legitimized itself as a working body of DPS, and not the Parliament, in which it should consistently defend the legality of procedures and proceedings. Hence, it is hard to believe that urgent processing of “anonymous” reports is of “public interest for RTCG”, as Chairman of the Committee, Ljuidj Škrelja, tried to explain implausibly.
At the same time, Agency for Prevention of Corruption (APC), since its establishment, failed to achieve any remarkable result in the fight against corruption, which is the reason it was founded. This ascertainment comes also from relevant international addresses, which also seek concrete results from this institution. In any of the segments of its jurisdiction: conflict of interest, financing of political parties, protection of whistle-blowers, the APC has in specific cases demonstrated that it has no integrity, independence, and autonomy, but that this institution is also under the control of DPS.
Therefore, it is no surprise that representative of NGOs in the Council, Goran Đurović, is first object of “anonymous” report. It is interesting to remind that as many as 1016 public officials did not submit reports on their income and property within deadline prescribed by law in 2017, but this was not the subject of urgent action by APC. Absence of publication of this report represents a crude violation of the Law on Prevention of Corruption. On the other hand, the APC urgently deals with “anonymous” reports to examine whether production of lettuce by this member of the Council is in conflict with performance of function of a member of the RTCG Council.
Due to inability to link the production of lettuce directly with the production of TV programmes, the APC passes the decision that a member of the RTCG Council, Goran Đurović, violated Law on Prevention of Corruption because he did not vacate the position of executive director in an agricultural enterprise timely. It is important to note that Goran Đurović could not perform the role of the authorized person of a company, even the one who deals with selling lettuce, which he founded during his term of office, and not prior to assuming office. However, it should be noted that the moment he learned that this is not a permitted action, he corrected the same, i.e. he is no longer an authorized person. The fact that he was an authorized person could be found out from his property card since he submitted the same, not knowing that the same was not lawful.
However, this also does not constitute the violation of the Law on National Public Broadcaster and Radio Television of Montenegro and the basis for eventual dismissal, since the same company is neither registered for performing nor has interest in legal entities involved in the production of radio and TV programmes. Therefore, any attempt of dismissal would be an attempt to unlawfully change the RTCG’s governing body. Agency should be doing its job, but abuse should not be allowed in any manner, i.e. attempt to conduct unlawful dismissal of the member of the Council under media storm. Obviously, the target here is the RTCG Council, clearly for political reasons.
In short, we seek enforcement of the law and there is no legal basis for Goran Đurović to be dismissed since misdemeanour behaviour was removed.
Such mechanisms of DPS for confronting civil sector activists whose operation and work they cannot influence is not a novelty. We have witnessed, in previous years, dirty campaigns aimed at infringing honor and reputation of NGO activists, which were conducted by media directly controlled by DPS. Institute of so-called “anonymous” report is also well known to us, as it was used in the past by the Prosecution to “screen” work of respectable NGOs that jeopardized interests of powerful structures of authority. It was also urgently acted upon those anonymous reports, with accompanying orchestrated media support, so means of confrontation are known, only direct perpetrators are being alternated.
Administrative Committee has the opportunity to confirm the decision of Agency on misdemeanor or to initiate unlawful dismissal of members of the Council. Should the second happen, our concern that it is a matter of organized action to destabilize work of the Council and the RTCG which are beginning to profile as services for benefit of all citizens will only be confirmed.
Ana Novaković, Executive Director, Centre of Development of Non-Governmental Ogranizations (CDNGO)
Zlatko Vujović, President of MB, Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI)
Daliborka Uljarević, Executive Director, Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Stevo Muk, President of MB, Institute Alternative (IA)