Press release: Favoritism of political party donors in public procurements must be prevented

The Law on Political Parties Financing needs to be enhanced with the precise and detailed provisions which would prevent favoritism of parties’ donors who are during public procurement procedures.

Improvement of abovementioned provisions of the Law on Political Parties Financing is even of higher priority if we bear in mind that potential connection between public procurement procedures and political parties financing is emphasized by the European Union as a prerequisite for an effective fight against corruption, upon which Montenegro’s progress in membership talks with the EU depends.

The current Law prohibits parties to receive donations from legal entities and entrepreneurs and with them related persons who concluded procurement contract, in a period of two years before and from conclusion of the contract, as well as for the period of duration of the business relationship. Yet, there are numerous deficiencies of such provision. The “prohibition period” of two years after signing the contract is short because it coincides with only half of the Government’s full term, and leaves room for corruption in the second half of the regular mandate of the executive power. The Law on Public Procurement should thus also incorporate provision, which would specify that it is necessary to reject the bid of a legal entity which granted donations to a political party for a period of two years prior to the commencement of the procurement procedure. Only in this manner, the provision forbidding donations in a two-year period before concluding a public procurement procedure would be meaningful.

Furthermore, the Law envisages a fine from 10,000 to 20,000 euro for a political party which received the donors’ support in non-allowed conditions, but not for the legal entity or a person who made illicit donation. Hence, those persons should also be penalized. When it comes to the political parties financing and public procurement, it is important to note that the State Electoral Commission and the State Audit Institution have limited capacities to exercise oversight of the Law on Political Parties Financing. The Public Procurement Directorate should thus regularly update the list of bidders or legal entities which have concluded public procurement contracts by dates of bidding invitation in order to ensure the professional behavior of the SAI while auditing financial reports of political parties and report on the financing of political parties.

Jovana Marović
Research Coordinator

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