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Authorities not ready to fight endemic corruption

Serbia is the country of rampant corruption which imperils the functioning of the society, but the authorities are no prepared to fight it sincerely, nor to build the system of transparent governance, the participants at the round table discussion about the clarity of public companies' work have said, the Beta news agency reported on Wednesday.

Nemanja Nenadic, the Programme Director of the Transparency Serbia, who organised the debate in the northern city of Novi Sad, said that after objections the civic society sector made to the second Draft of the Law on Information of Public Importance, the first solution stipulating the possibility for public companies to launch proceedings against the commissioner in charge of that information was eliminated.

However, he added, "a dangerous solution" remained, saying that public enterprises registered as the shareholding companies were exempted from the Law. "We see that regulation as very dangerous and potentially very damaging since it leaves the citizens without a possibility even to ask how the public money is spent in those companies which at the same time have the largest amount of capital at their disposal," Nenadic said.

Rodoljub Sabic, former Commission for Information of Public Importance said that in Serbia "corruption is a chronic condition," and that according to "the international institutions' corruption index, the country is at the level of the most corrupted Latin American states." "Well, I guess we have citizens here, not subjects, who pay taxes and have the right to know how their money is spent," he said. Sabic added that the latest European Commission report on Serbia also pointed out the corruption in the country, which was essential for serious foreign investors who avoided Serbia due to that fact.