For more than three months now, the Agency refuses to provide us with a list of all public officials in Montenegro and a list of public officials who gave consent to the Agency to check their bank accounts, as well as the copies of those consents. Also, the Agency has not provided us with a list of police officers who are obliged to submit assets declaration.
Institute alternative (IA) submitted freedom of information requests to the Agency for Prevention of Corruption in September and October 2016, requesting the list of all public officials in Montenegro, information on how many public officials there are in Montenegro there are and who of them gave consent to the Agency to check their bank accounts for the purpose of verification of the data from the their assets declaration. Also, we asked for the copies of those consents, with applying personal data protection rules – deleting personal identification number and the number of bank account of public official. Additionally, we wanted to be informed on the names of police officers obliged to submit assets declaration to the Agency and who among them fulfilled that obligation until the day of submitting our request.
After the Agency did not respond our request for more than a month, we submitted the complaints for administrative silence against it to the Agency for Personal Data Protection and Free Access to Information (AZLP).
Council of the Agency for Personal Data Protection and Free Access to Information adopted Decisions on December 10 and 28, confirming that the Agency for Prevention of Corruption has violated the Law on Free Access to Information and ordered it to adopt decisions upon our requests within the legal deadline of 15 days since the day of receiving the Decision of the Council.
In both cases, 15 – day deadline for issuing the decisions has expired, so it seems that the Agency remains persistent in its practice of non-transparency and irregularly and incompletely informing the public. Hereby we call upon the Agency to act upon the decision of the Council of the Agency for Personal Data Protection and Free Access to Information and provide us with requested information.
We remind that IA has been already pointing out the need of amending the Law on Free Access to Information on this matter. Namely, the Law does not stipulate the obligation for the state authorities to act upon the decisions of the Council of the Agency for Personal Data Protection and Free Access to Information nor any kind of sanction for such conduct. It is, therefore, necessary to promptly solve this legal loophole which enables authorities not to act upon the decisions of the Council on the appeal of the claimant.
Public Policy Researcher