Corruption and public procurement in Montenegro

Analysis “Corruption and public procurement in Montenegro” was developed in the period from February 2011 to June 2012, representing the continuation of ongoing research activities of the Institute “Alternative” in the public procurement area. The idea of the authors was to pinpoint the reasons for classifying public procurement into six special risk areas of corruption in Montenegro, and to underline why the anti – corruption mechanisms strengthening is the top priority for improving the fight against corruption in this area. Bearing in mind the scope of the research, the analysis is focusing on elements of the legal and institutional establishment of the public procurement system, with the objective of reviewing the corruption risks in all stages of the procedure, supported by the recommendations for overcoming the risks.

The analysis starts with the explanation of the specifics of the term “corruption in public procurement”, with a brief overview of the principles which should represent the anchor of a modern public procurement system. The introductory description of the corruption risks and principles is general, not addressing to any specific country, being accompanied by the review of public procurement system of Montenegro, providing as well the overview of statistical data explaining the trends in the key categories of the public procurement procedures in Montenegro, as of 2007 to date (GDP share, percent of applying certain procedures, largest contracting authorities, etc).

The new Law on Public Procurement (PPL), which entered into force in January 2012, has brought numerous new legal solutions. Therefore, the central part of this publication is devoted to the analysis of these solutions with the specific intention of clarifying the direction in which they are reforming this area, and identifying persisting or remaining weaknesses affecting the corruption risks. The risks overview is given against the stages of the procedure: planning, implementation of the public procurement procedure, as well as the stage after the decision adoption and contract award.

Opinions of direct actors in the procedure have helped us in considering the extent to which these new solutions represent the improvement in comparison to the previous legal framework. In the light of the above, during the research stage, conducted were a numerous interviews with the participants in the process (representatives of institutions in charge of public procurement procedures control, tenderers, public procurement officers, representatives of ministries coordinating activities in the fight against corruption …). Furthermore, requests for free access to information were submitted to the Administration, Administrative Court, Supreme Court, Commercial Courts in Podgorica and Bijelo Polje, Commission, Police Administration, etc., that have significantly enabled us in providing the overview of administrative capacities of authorities in charge of public procurement system management, as well as the activities of other state institutions in charge of combating corruption in public procurement.

In the period from 11 to 18 April 2012, the Institute Alternative in cooperation with the Ipsos Strategic Marketing, conducted a public opinion survey in Montenegro on the perception of corruption in the public procurement procedures. Collection of data was made on a sample (840 respondents) representative for the population of adult citizens of Montenegro (474 655). Three-stage stratified probability sample was applied in the following stages: territory of the polling station; households selected through random step method, starting from the given addresses (SRSWoR); household members selected without replacement – at same probability (SRSWoR) – Kish tables.

The analysis encompasses public opinion survey results in comparison to the opinion of citizens in reference to the implementation method of the public procurement procedures in Montenegro, to what extent they are satisfied with the control of the procedure, and in which areas the control should be strengthened, etc.

The presentation of the best practice in the fight against corruption in public procurement in the EU member states and the countries in the region is aimed at indicating the direction in which is possible to improve the anti – corruption mechanisms, and to which extent their implementation is possible within the Montenegrin context and the current legal solutions.

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