Conflict of Interest in Public Procurement

The Montenegrin public tends to perceive the public procurement system as unlawful, unfair, prone to abuse and non-transparent. Citizens identify both various forms of abuse and connections between political and economic players.

According to the official institutional data, there is no conflict of interest in public procurement in Montenegro. Up to two reports of potential conflict of interest get recorded per year; those are forwarded to the Administration for Inspection Affairs – Public Procurement Inspectorate for further action. The Public Procurement Law requires the contracting authorities to sign conflict of interest declarations ahead of a public procurement procedure, or during a procedure, should conflict of interest occur.

It is up to the contracting authority to verify the declarations and act accordingly, although it has no (automated) access to the registries and databases that would be of assistance.

Montenegro, thus, does not have an umbrella institution responsible for identification of conflict of interest in public procurement, running a registry and recording conflict of interest and actions taken in follow-up to reports. The Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, which holds the registries of public officials and their asset records (including any interest they may hold in companies) and is connected with other databases relevant for identification of conflict of interest in public procurement, has no role whatsoever in public procurement control. The mandatory submission of asset declarations, which are then not used for the purpose of substantive review, serves as a shield and a justification that everything is in line with the law.

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