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Law on Preventing Corruption does not resolve important issues

Transparency Serbia (official chapter of Transparency International) submitted to all National Assembly deputy groups today, recommendations for improvement of as much as 65 out of total 114 articles of the Draft Law on Preventing Corruption.

Transparency analysis shows that, among other, solutions are inappropriate in regards to preventing abuses of public office for political promotion („officials’ campaign“), conditions for election of director and process of electing members of the Board/Council of the Agency, accumulation of functions, resolving conflict of interest, reporting of property and penalizing of false statements on property and incomes of public officials.

We emphasize that this draft even deteriorated in quality compared to previous ones by excluding from the definition of public officials, those that perform functions in companies established by public enterprises and in non-privatized companies, without any elaboration.

Law on Anticorruption Agency, according to Anticorruption Strategy plans, should have been significantly improved even in 2014, and according to obligations from negotiating chapter 23, in 2016. However, not even the draft law that was sent to parliamentary procedure, after three previously published drafts, resolves all problems identified in practice.

Although this draft has undergone public debate in 2016, 2018 and 2019, Ministry of Justice, contrary to obligation from the article 41. of the Government Rules of Procedure, has not published the public debate report that would provide explanation of why recommendations that were received were unacceptable, i.e. that proposed solutions are better than those suggested by the public debate participants.

Transparency also emphasizes that even the explanation of why it is allegedlynecessary to adopt this act under urgent procedure(fulfilling of GRECOrecommendations) is not valid. Namely, this obligation expired in 31.12.2016, and new additional deadline is 31.12.2019, while the beginning of full implementation of the law is envisaged for September 2020. Therefore, Transparency – Serbia suggests that Parliament should discuss this draft in regular procedure, which would allow through reconsideration of all disputable issues.