Public Procurements and Accountability

In Montenegro, one of the main problems when it comes to public procurement is the lack of accountability for violations of the Law on Public Procurement. Moreover, not every possible violation in public procurement procedure has been determined by this Law. However, amendments to the Law on Public Procurement have not dealt with these issues, but also these measures don’t improve the existing anti-corruption mechanisms and don’t introduce the new ones.

The Public Procurement Directorate makes the Annual report on public procurement based on data delivered by the contracting authorities, which makes the contract authorities, 621 of them in 2014, responsible for the accuracy of the data. The Law don’t prescribe infringement liability for delivering inaccurate data, and there have been such cases. The State Audit Institution, for example, has indicated that among the institutions that submitted inaccurate data to the Public Procurement Directorate in 2011 have been the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and The Agency for the Protection of Personal Data and The Free Access to Information. It is not known that the responsible persons in these organs have been punished for preparing the inaccurate reports or that any measures have been taken in order to ensure delivery of the accurate and objective data.

The report on public procurement also cites the contracting authorities who don’t deliver reports on public procurement, for which there are fines prescribed in the Article 149 of the Law on Public Procurement. According to the data listed in the Annual Report 2013 Public Procurement Directorate did not have access to the reports of 22 contracting authorities. In 2012 44 contracting authorities haven’t delivered this report, which makes the percentage of 6,2% of total number of contracting authorities. Examining the list of the contracting authorities it could be seen that some of them do not submit the report on public procurement continuously and that for this failure to act a special infringement liability should be prescribed.

The contracting authorities often violate the legal restriction on the use of direct agreement. Examining reports on public procurement of local governments in 2013 it can be noticed that the Municipality of Andrijevica, Budva, Cetinje, Danilovgrad, Kotor, Mojkovac, Plav and Žabljak have broken the Law by violating the legal restriction for the use of direct agreement. The percentage of the use of direct agreement on the terms of public procurement in 2013 has been highest in Municipality of Plav, where all the procurement in the amount of 231.280 of euro have been implemented on the basis of direct agreement, followed by Municipality of Andrijevica with 43,39%, and Municipality of Mojkovac with 42,63%.

It has not been established yet a criminal liability for irregularities in public procurement, since there is no final judgment of corruption in this area. The number of complaints about corruption in this area at the annual level is negligible. The Public Procurement Directorate has not received any complaint about corruption in 2013, and has received only three related to conflict of interest.

The Institute Alternative, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is implementing the project “Civil Society And Citizens Against Corruption In Public Procurement”. The project will last 12 months, and its activities will be aimed at strengthening cooperation between non-state actors in the joint efforts in identifying irregularities in public procurement and formulating recommendations for improvement.

Jovana MAROVIĆ

Koordinatorka istraživanja

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