We are not surprised by the new statement of the director of Agency for Prevention of Corruption, Sreten Radonjic, concerning the initiatives that MANS submitted to this institution complaining of electoral abuse. This statement, just as his previous ones, perfectly supports reasons why he has been appointed to this position in the first place – obstructing the fight against corruption and blatant public disavowal.
All the initiatives that MANS submitted in the pre-election period have absolute grounds in the law on financing of political parties, but that is the reason they were unacceptable for Sreten Radonjic. The fact that none of over 2,000 complaints that were submitted were not adequately prosecuted by the Agency proves the above statement. Of the total number of submitted initiatives, only a few of them was based on statements that were presented in the media, while the rest was the result of extensive monitoring of over 100 Montenegrin institutions, including ministries, local governments and public enterprises.
The initiatives that we submitted, and which were supported by adequate documentation, pointed to the fact that the government institutions did absolutely everything to conceal the money flows, or in what way the budget was spent ahead of the October elections. Thus, the data on budget consumption that were published by national institutions lacked the information on whom, on what basis and when the payments were made and from which budget item. Also, when it comes to mileage logs, there were no data on fuel consumption or the reason for traveling. Essentially, state institutions published the information from which it could not have been revealed if there had been any inappropriate expenditure of the state budget.
The latest report of the European Commission for Montenegro states that the Agency for Prevention of Corruption “must have a more proactive role in verifying the data supplied by public institutions and political entities.”
On the other hand, Sreten Radonjic has set up a totally different practice. Thus, the decisions on rejecting the MANS’s initiatives specify that the Agency “has not indulged into determining the accuracy of published data.” This fits very well with what the Radonjic’s task is – nip in the bud any initiative or effort to identify the existence of corruption and misuse of state funds.
In this way, Radonjic missed a significant increase in spending in the pre-election period with the whole series of state institutions for which MANS collected evidence in the form of official statements on budget expenditure. Thus, among other things, the Agency rejected MANS’s initiative regarding the fact that the Ministry of Sustainable Development alone, in the course of the election campaign, from calling the elections until the end of August, spent nearly €2.3 million on infrastructure projects. This was a significant increase compared to the non-election months, when the average monthly expenditure was around half a million. This initiative has been rejected as incomplete, although MANS, using official documents, virtually “drew” to the Agency officials how the Ministry had been violating the law.
From the beginning of the work of the Agency, MANS has been warning that the institution is arbitrarily imprisoned by Sreten Radonjic and his more than obvious connection with the structures of power. His statement at the last press conference that during the last election “there was no abuse of state funds for political purposes”, which we understand as a kind of a political report to those who appointed him to the position he occupies, only proves how well he has done his „work.“