Special State Prosecutor’s Office prohibited to MANS to gain insight into the solution and the Agreement on deferred prosecution that this institution has concluded with the former director of PE Morsko Dobro, Rajko Barovic, and the public still remains deprived of information what kind of crime this official has been charged with, and thereby what was the Special Prosecutor’s Office motivation to conclude such an agreement with Barovic.
Above all, with such a unilateral refusal of access of basic information about the work of prosecutors’ offices, virtually is impossible to control its operation, and the prosecutors are allowed, based on their sole discretion, behind closed doors to conclude agreements with the accused for criminal offenses of corruption and organized crime.
Its decision to refuse access to information about the agreement with Barovic, the prosecution allegedly justice with interests of investigations and prosecution, despite the fact that the investigation has been completed long time ago, and the prosecution dropped criminal charges making an agreement. Even the presumption of innocence can not serve as a justification, because in concrete case, Rajko Barovic by signing the agreement in fact pleaded guilty to the offenses he is charged with.
In its response to MANS, the Special Prosecutor’s Office has not further reasoned its decision, nor is based on the Law on Free Access to Information implemented the so-called “identification test” which should prove the legitimacy of concealing some information from the public. MANS on such a solution of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, already appealed to the Council of the Agency for the free access to information demanding that the unlawful decision is annulled.
The Agency, in 2014, deciding upon an earlier demands of MANS, took the stand that the Prosecution erroneously applied the Law on Free Access to Information, infringing the rules of procedure in such cases, and that there is no legal basis to refuse access for requested information, especially since that is the case that the prosecution has completed, and there is no interest in the prevention of the investigation in order to hide files.
Request for information in Barovic case was sent as a test of the political will of the Special Prosecutor’s Office to its activity and really made transparent and subject to control, but the decision of the prosecution to unilaterally restrict access to basic information showed that it exists only on paper and in the speeches of the Special Prosecutor.
Similarly as in Barovic case, the public also was denied the information about the settlement between the prosecution and the international drug dealer Naser Kelmendi and former President of the Municipality of Ulcinj, Gzim Hajdinaga, which are similar to Barovic, with the money bought freedom, and cleared their biographies.
Rajko Barovic is not the biggest problem when it comes to crime and corruption in Montenegro, but this example shows what will be the attitude of the prosecution once when all agreements concluded with the biological and criminal family of Svetozar Marovic are verified before the judicial instances. It is quite certain that if the Special Prosecutor’s Office does not change the practice of hiding the basic information, the citizens of Montenegro will never find out why and under which conditions such agreements are concluded, and what benefits they provide to the right and justice in Montenegro.
What is perhaps more important than that, is that the concealment of this information actually prevents any control over the work of teams of Ivica Stankovic and Milivoje Katnic, which for now seems like an endless string of rotten compromise with criminals who damaged the state for tens of millions of euros. Without detailed information on why and under what circumstances the prosecution makes agreements with Budva group, the entire process of “awakened the rule of law” seems as a market trade, and what is more dangerous, as a classic biography clearing of the highest state and party officials.
MANS expects that the illegal decision of the Special Prosecutor’s Office will be canceled, and that citizens will have the opportunity to independently conclude whether the results of previous prosecution’s results are really that good as it is imposed on the public. We hereby appeal to the Special Prosecutor’s Office that they by themselves, proactively, publishe information on its activities with regard to completed investigations for offenses of corruption and organized crime, and that the epithet of transparency can not be obtained with a few simple press releases, TV reports, flammable statements and information that virtually do not offer anything about the quality of their work.
Director of the Research Center of Mans