Lack of anti-corruption policy in the system of public procurement in Montenegro

Having in mind that the area of public procurement represents one of the focal points of corruption in Montenegro, the issue of tackling corruption is not adequately addressed in the Strategy for development of the public procurement system covering the period from 2011 to 2015. The Strategy, as well as the Action Plan for its implementation, foresee only two measures for the fight against corruption: signing of a cooperation agreement between the Public Procurement Administration and key anti-corruption institutions (Directorate for Anti-Corruption Initiative, Commission for Prevention of Conflict of Interest, State Audit Institution), as well as conducting a campaign on raising public awareness about public procurement procedures. These measures are not sufficient for a successful anti-corruption policy in the coming four-year period, especially bearing in mind that the results of previous agreements between the Public Procurement Administration and key anti-corruption institutions (Directorate for Anti-Corruption Initiative and the Commission for Prevention of Conflict of Interest), as well as the evaluation of cooperation based on these agreements, are not known yet.

That is why it is particularly important to concretise the measures for the fight against corruption and define them according to the risks of corruption emergence in various phases of the public procurement procedure. Crucial risks for corruption emergence exist in the planning phase already, in the preparation of tender documents, during the conduct of public procurement procedure, as well after concluding an agreement on public procurement.

New Law on Public Procurement, which entered into force on 1 January 2012, contains certain provisions that are better compared to the previous legal framework, especially in the field of: public procurement planning; conditions for participation in the procedure; defining the subject of public procurement, etc. However, three months after the entry into force of the new Law on Public Procurement, it is still impossible to evaluate the extent of its implementation.

Finally, it is possible to note that the 2012 Public Procurement Plan of most purchasers still contains the total value of public procurement and the planned procurement budget according to the subject type (goods, works, services), while it does not contain a timeframe for the launching of the procedure and the position in budget, as prescribed in a bylaw regulating the public procurement plan, whose implementation has started by the entry into force of the new Law on Public Procurement on 1 January 2012.

Milica Popović, M. Sc.
Policy Researcher, Institute Alternative

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