Double standards of APC towards the former and current head of state


Upon termination of office, it took 143 days for the former President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, to submit a report on assets to the Agency for Prevention of Corruption, although the law provides for a maximum of 30 days.

However, the head of that institution, Jelena Perović, allowed him to do so, because for more than two months she did not respond to his inquiry regarding whether he was still obliged to answer to them.

Due to a similar violation of the regulations, the Agency initiated a misdemeanour proceedings against his successor at the head of the state, Jakov Milatović. The legal provisions are clear and specify that 30 days from assuming and termination of public function, officials must submit an assets report to the Agency.

This stems from the official correspondence of the former President and head of the Agency, as well as official responses of that institution to the questions of “Vijesti”.

How 30 days turned into 143

Đukanović handed over the duties of president of the country to Milatović on May 20 last year. Five days later – on May 25, he informed the Agency that his position had ended, but that the termination of his position of the chairman of the Senate of the Old Royal Capital had not been determined, which is why he was asking for an opinion regarding whether he was obliged to submit a report on assets and income within the deadline of 30 days, as prescribed by the Law.

The Agency responded to this inquiry 76 days later, on August 4.

In the meantime, on July 26 last year, the Agency noticed that Milatović did not fulfil the legal obligation to submit a report on assets within 30 days of assuming office and initiated misdemeanour proceedings against him.

In her response to Đukanović, Perović explains that she received a letter from the Senate of the Old Royal Capital on August 2, in which it is said that “Đukanović’s position as the  Chairperson of the Senate of the Old Royal Capital automatically ceased with the termination of his office as the President of the State on 20/05/2023, and the he was obliged to submit a report on assets upon termination of office within 30 days from the date of receipt of the opinion in question”, the Agency’s letter to Đukanović from August 4 last year reads. Đukanović submitted the report on October 11 – i.e. 67 days from the day Perović cleared up his doubts. The Agency then confirmed to “Vijesti” that the former head of state fulfilled the legal obligation on October 11. “… Within 30 days from the receipt of the act of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption, from which he requested an opinion on whether the other public office he held had ceased with the expiration of the term of office of the President of Montenegro”, the Agency stated at the time. They did not specify when they submitted the opinion, as well as when the 30-day period expired. They claimed that it was submitted “within the deadline”.

MANS: Đukanović given special privileges by the Agency

The Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector (MANS) stated yesterday that this was “another confirmation of the suspicion that the Agency has been acting selectively, as stated in the latest report of the European Commission for Montenegro”. “…Where it is indicated that it is necessary to provide additional independence, accountability, impartiality and proactivity in the work of this institution”, they stressed.

They also point out that “in the previous period, we have witnessed that the Agency was governed by double standards in decision-making, whether it was the control of asset and income reports or the monitoring of the election process”. A special issue is the Agency’s handling of cases involving high-ranking state officials, where they are trying to justify the obvious lack of results by the mass production of statistics. Judging by what we have had the chance to see thus far, the former President Milo Đukanović is particularly privileged by the Agency, and that treatment has not changed with the changes at the head of that institution. Here, first of all, we are referring to the case of Đukanović’s undeclared assets (wristwatches), which has remained unsolved for years, although checking the lifestyle of public officials is something that the Agency should deal with. The previous results of the Agency in that area have promoted it to a sort of protector of the lifestyle of that part of public officials who cannot explain their assets with official income”, MANS concludes.

“Other inspections to learn procedures from the Agency”

Yesterday, Jelena Perović called on the state inspections to “come and see how it is done, what kind of system is set up in APC, what does a high-quality system imply, what are the procedures, and that we do everything in accordance with the law”. “No inspection, no State Prosecutor’s Office has adopted a single negative assessment in relation to APC because we do everything according to the law”, she said. She stressed that Transparency International’s ratings on the corruption perception are realistic, but that “the most important thing is that Montenegro has started to move from a deadlock”. She repeated that in three years, APC went from the worst to the best-rated institution in chapter 23.



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