Decision of the state to enter in the Coal Mine harmful to the public interest


MANS filed today a criminal complaint to the Special State Prosecutor against responsible persons in the Montenegrin Electric Enterprise (EPCG) concerning the announcement that the energy company is to acquire ownership of the loss-making company Coal Mine in Pljevlja, by redeeming €17 million worth shares from the Italian partner A2A and Aco Djukanovic.

The transaction would the brother of the former prime minister around €4 million of the state money the shares which could hardly be sold to anyone in the market. At the same time, A2A would earn €13 million.

The criminal complaint was filed against the former president of the Board of Directors Srdjan Kovacevic and unknown persons from the management company that participated in the proposal of the disputable decision and its presentation at the Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders. There is a reasonable suspicion that they have attempted to commit the criminal offense of malfeasance of office in business operations by guiding EPCG into the purchase of a company with huge losses, for a price much higher than its real value.

This way EPCG will suffer the damage of tens of millions. Not only there is no rational economic reason for EPCG to buy a loss-making company, but the realization of the announced transaction could push the state-owned energy company into the zone of unprofitable companies and be the “trigger” for its financial staggering in the future.

The reason for this is not only the potential €17 million for the purchase of shares, but additional tens of millions, which EPCG would have to provide to cover loans and existing debts of the Coal Mine in Pljevlja. The fact that the short-term obligations of the Coal Mine at the end of September last year amounted to €27 million, long-term liabilities €9 million, while its loss reached €10.5 million, show that the company is in a very difficult financial situation.

Yet, it would be only a part of the investment at the expense of EPCG as a state-owned company, if taken into account the persistence of the government on the project of the Unit II of the thermal power plant in Pljevlja. It is a several hundred million euro worth investment, for which the selected bidder, the Czech company Skoda Praha, has not yet managed to provide a creditor.

In the event that the implementation of this megalomaniacal project is initiated, EPCG would not only have to provide the money for the construction of the thermal power plant and a number of related investments, such as the closure of the existing ash and slag dump or the construction of a new landfill and electricity infrastructure, but would also have to implement the mining investments, such as the opening of new mines and landfills for ore waste, procurement of machinery to work simultaneously in multiple mines, and to allocate huge amount of money for expropriation, which would cost hundreds of millions of euros.

Financial capacity of EPCG is not sufficient to bear the entire investment, but it is the beginning of opening “holes” in its operations, which would probably, in the near future, result in a state aid to the energy company, or a new emptying of the budget and the citizens’ pockets.

MANS calls on the Special Prosecutor’s Office to react as soon as possible to prevent an extremely hazardous affair, which is clearly designed to once again fill the pockets of family members of the former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and alleged strategic foreign partners.

Ines Mrdovic
MANS Investigation Center Coordinator

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