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Group of States against Corruption publishes report on Montenegro

Press Release

Strasbourg, 14 December 2010 –  The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) today published its Third Round Evaluation Report on Montenegro, in which it concludes that anti corruption legislation is not effectively applied and that there is a pressing need to establish an independent monitoring mechanism of political financing.

Regarding the criminalisation of corruption [hyperlink to theme I report], GRECO recognises that, following a legal reform, the criminal law of Montenegro largely complies with the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (ETS 173).

There are, however, several inconsistencies and ambiguities in key elements of the bribery and trading in influence offences, such as the. coverage of the term “bribe”, advantages intended for a third person, and direct or indirect commission of the offence, which should be promptly remedied in order to ensure coherent and vigorous enforcement of the law.

Indeed, in Montenegro, the real challenge lies with the effective application of legislation: a sound track record of investigations and convictions, including that of high level corruption, is to be accomplished as a matter of priority.

Concerning transparency of party funding [hyperlink to theme II report], GRECO acknowledges the steps taken to enhance the transparency and financial discipline of political parties and candidates, notably through the obligation to keep proper books, to open dedicated political accounts, to appoint responsible persons for the management of political finances and to submit financial reports and disclose private donations.

However, the fundamental weakness in the system is a largely deficient monitoring machinery which undermines the effectiveness in practice of the relevant rules. There is a clear lack of responsibility of any public entity, or combination of entities, for competent monitoring and compliance with the laws.

A direct consequence of this deficient supervision is that no sanction has been imposed to date for breaches of political financing regulations, even though there are concerns that irregularities occur in practice with respect, for example, to failure to submit financial reports, misuse of public resources and acceptance of other in-kind types of contributions, including media discounts.

The report as a whole addresses 14 recommendations to Montenegro. GRECO will assess the implementation of these recommendations, in the second half of 2012, through its specific compliance procedure.