Agency for Prevention of Corruption

Press Release from the 58th session of the Council of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption

Oct. 30, 2021
Council of the Agency for Prevention of Corrupiton

At yesterday's session, the Council of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption discussed the assessments from the European Commission's Progress Report on Montenegro, in the part related to the field of corruption prevention.

The members of the Council expressed satisfaction with the fact that the European Commission recognized the proactive stand of the Agency in the field of corruption prevention and expressed a clear intention to continue reform activities. The Agency will systematically address the challenges identified by the European Commission through the development of a comprehensive work strategy.

Considering the Report on the implementation of the Agency's Work Plan for the third quarter of 2021, it was stated that in the reporting period, all activities envisaged by the Work Plan for 2021 were implemented.

In the field of preventing conflicts of interest and respecting restrictions in the exercise of public office, the Agency issued 38 opinions on the existence of conflict of interest and restrictions in the exercise of public office, on the basis of which 4 resignations were submitted.

There was a significantly lower number of reported gifts and sponsorships, while, on the other hand, there was an increase in the number of reported donations, as well as a constant growth trend of reported donations since the beginning of the Agency. The largest number of donations is in the field of health, and social and child protection and education.

Within the legally prescribed deadline, 90.12% of public officials and civil servants fulfilled their legal obligation to submit a regular annual report. In the first nine months of this year, 649 reports were checked.

In the area of ​​control of financing of political entities and election campaigns, the Agency has adopted and published a "Control and Monitoring Plan for the election campaign for local elections to be held on December 5, 2021."

In this area, 432 reports were submitted by subjects to the Law on Financing of Political Entities and Election Campaigns on regular work and during the election campaign in the municipalities of Mojkovac and Petnjica and the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje.

In the third quarter of 2021, there were 35 whistleblower reports, of which 11 were submitted anonymously. In the same period, the Agency received a total of 134 whistleblower reports (including reports from the previous period), 9 procedures were completed and the existence of threatening the public interest was determined in three. The Agency forwarded four whistleblower reports to other relevant institutions, and all proceedings are ongoing.

During the third quarter, one application was submitted for the protection of whistleblowers, which is ongoing. Following the implementation of the recommendations given in the previous period, the Agency stated that one recommendation was not implemented and in that sense acted in accordance with the competences arising from the provision of Article 63 of the Law on Prevention of Corruption. One procedure on the application from 2020 is underway.

In the third quarter, one state authority issued a decision on appointing an integrity manager for the first time, while 13 authorities informed the Agency about the change of integrity manager, i.e. the appointment of a new person as integrity manager. For the first time, four state authorities adopted and submitted an integrity plan to the Agency.

In the reporting period, two decisions were made to extend the approval for lobbying, at the request of lobbyists. Also, a decision was made to terminate the validity of the approval for performing lobbying activities. Currently, five natural persons and one legal entity are registered in the register of lobbyists.

In September 2021, the Ministry of Justice, Human and Minority Rights formed a Working Group to draft the Law on Amendments to the Law on Lobbying, in order to improve the lobbying institute in Montenegro, which began on September 14t and whose members are three employees from the Agency.

In the first 9 months of 2021, the Agency issued 7 opinions on regulations in the field of anti-corruption, the same number as in the previous three years of work in total. Several activities related to the improvement of the Methodology for the analysis of regulations have been implemented, in order to determine the risk areas from the occurrence of corruption.

In the third quarter of 2021, the Agency initiated 98 administrative proceedings against public officials. A total of 47 proceedings (including cases from the previous period) were completed and violations of the Law were found in 91.5% of cases.

In the first nine months of 2021, the Agency initiated more administrative procedures compared to the annual level of the previous three years.

Due to violations of anti-corruption laws within its competence, the Agency initiated a total of 257 misdemeanor proceedings in the third quarter of 2021 (253 requests for initiating misdemeanor proceedings and 4 misdemeanor warrants). During the reporting period, a total of 254 proceedings were completed (including proceedings on requests from previous years and realized warrants), of which 90.2% were sanctioned. The total amount of fines, including realized warrants, is € 43,570.

Already in the first three quarters of 2021, the Agency initiated almost twice as many misdemeanor proceedings compared to 2020, and significantly more than the annual level of the previous four years of the APC's work. This was primarily generated by a number of initiated procedure in the area of verification of ​​income and assets, due to more intensive work and a proactive approach of the APC.