The Law still applies when money comes from abroad?

The Administrative Court, upon the initiative of Institute Alternative, annulled the decision of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption

The Agency for  Prevention of Corruption will again decide on the IA’s initiative against the current MP, and former minister Predrag Bošković, suspecting that he had violated the Law on Prevention of Corruption by having illegal incomes around 130 000 euros from international handball organisations in recent years.

It will do so after the Council of the Administrative Court has accepted IA’s lawsuit at the beginning of the month and annulled the decision of the Agency from October 2019.

“The Agency will issue a new decision, in which it will decide if the public official Predrag Bošković violated the Law“, it is said in the response to newspaper “Vijesti“ from the institution headed by Jelena Perović.

Institute Alternative believes that he had illegal incomes against the Law, as Vice President of the Executive Board of European Handball Federation (EHF) and member of the Executive Board of International Handball Federation (IHF).

According to the regular annual property reports that he submitted to the Agency, he reported that from two handball federations he had incomes about 130 000 euros.

The institution headed in that time by Sreten Radonjić rejected IA’s request in October 2019 as unfounded, claiming that the Law does not apply to international bodies.

Article 12 of the Law on Prevention of Corruption says that a public official shall not be a president or member of the management body or supervisory board, executive director, member of management of public companies, public institutions or other legal entities. On the basis of membership in the managing or supervisory bodies, public official cannot legally generate income or other compensation.

IA claims that the legal norm does not allow different interpretations and that the Law does not distinguish between domestic, foreign and international sports associations.

However, the decision signed by Agency’s Assistant Director, Savo Milašinović, states that was the reason for rejecting Institute’s request.

“The EHF is a governing body that controls handball federations of European countries, and it is the part of IHF, while the IHF is an administrative and control body of international handball. Therefore, these are international bodies to which the Article 12 of the Law refers and does not apply“, it is stated in the explanation.

In the lawsuit from 2019, in which “Vijesti“ had access to, President of the Managing Board of Institute Alternative, Stevo Muk, stated that it remains unclear how the Agency made the final conclusion that this provision does not apply to that organisation, because they do not state any exceptions which would refer to an international organisation.

“If the position of Agency were legal and justified, it would be a lesson to public officials that throguh the establishment of non-profit associations based outside Montenegro they can generate additional income contrary to the provisions of the Law, and that the Agency will not open a procedure for verifying conflicts of interest of the law“, Muk warned at the time.

His argumentation was accepted from the Council of the Administrative Court, because the verdict signed by judge Muzafer Hadžajić states that “the mentioned provision, as the prosecutor rightly objects, does not make a difference between domestic, foreign and international organisations“.

“According to the court, the shortcomings of the dispositive and reasoning of the disputed decision call into question both the factual determination and the correctness of the application of substantive law, from which the legality of resolving the administrative matter itself could not be examined, which was the reason for the Court to adopt and annulled the disputed decision“, it is stated in the explanation of the verdict in which “Vijesti“ had an insight.

Bošković did not responded at the questions of “Vijesti“ to comment the verdict of the Administrative Court.

Author: Miloš Radović, Vijesti

The text was originally published in the daily newspaper “Vijesti“, as well as on the portal Vijesti.

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