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State racketeering, conflict of interest and hidden costs

Regarding the confirmation of the „Jura” company of their donation of two cars to the Ministry of Labour, Transparency Serbia urges the Ministry, Government and State Audit Institution to investigate this case, initiate procedure for punishing of those accountable, return the cars that were illegally accepted and initiate procedure for amending and changing of regulations, to regulate the conflict of interest related to accepting of gifts by the state organs.

Insider published letter of „Jura“ company that confirmed that, to the request of the Ministry of Labour it donated two vehicles. Insider states that donation was given in 2013. Media tackled this issue only after the claims that company, that received 25 million of Euros of subsidies, abused the rights of employees and that Labour inspection did not react properly.

Law on Donations and Humanitarian Aid forbids donations in the form of passenger cars, as well as services, cash, bonds, property and other rights. Transparency Serbia emphasizes that in this specific case, not only that the limitation from the Law on Donations was violated, but that there are more serious problems. Primarily, the situation in which one state organ asks for “donation” from a private company, that can be subjected to inspection, can represent in its essence extortion of bribe, which differs from criminal act only by the characteristic that it is not the individual who benefits rather an organ. Additional element of paradox is the fact that state on one hand, gives incentive to the investor with the tax payers’ money, and that on the other hand, asks from the same investor, vehicles that should have been procured from the state budget.


Even if the “donation” wasn’t extorted, it would obviously be inappropriate for the state organ to accept gifts from the company that should be subjected to inspection of the same organ (labour inspection, part of the Ministry). Having in mind that current regulations regulate only conflict of (private) interest of the state officials and servants who represent public interest, and not the situations like this, Transparency Serbia thinks that this matter should be regulated. Related to that, we remind that it is necessary to regulate proceedings of public officials related to accepting of gifts. Additional reason for introducing of precise legal regulations is the fact that in some cases donations carry certain significant hidden expenses, that can surpass the value of gift several times, especially with products whose maintenance and related expenses (e. g. software updating, services, procuring of specific equipment) are higher than the price of the basic product.