Agency for Prevention of Corruption awaits appointment of the new Council

June 2019
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Agency for Prevention of Corruption awaits appointment of the new Council. The mandate of the Council of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption expired at the end of June, without appointment of the new members. The parliamentary Anti-Corruption Committee reached an impasse in the selection process, since the candidates for this position don’t have required qualifications.

Namely, the Committee took a stand that the exam to enter public administration is a necessary precondition for the work in the Council. This was not the case during the selection of previous Council members. The Committee explained its decision with a change of the relevant legislation regulating the work of civil servants and employees, which has introduced this exam as the general condition for any type of employment in the state bodies. This interpretation might be too stringent from the point of view of the Law on Prevention of Corruption. The latter stipulates that 2 members of the Council should be also members of academic community and civil society and there is only a handful of persons from these two groups that have the necessary exam, and none of them applied for the position in the Council.

Agency for Prevention of Corruption awaits appointment of the new Council. The mandate of the Council of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption expired at the end of June, without appointment of the new members. The parliamentary Anti-Corruption Committee reached an impasse in the selection process, since the candidates for this position don’t have required qualifications. Namely, the Committee took a stand that the exam to enter public administration is a necessary precondition for the work in the Council. This was not the case during the selection of previous Council members. The Committee explained its decision with a change of the relevant legislation regulating the work of civil servants and employees, which has introduced this exam as the general condition for any type of employment in the state bodies. This interpretation might be too stringent from the point of view of the Law on Prevention of Corruption. The latter stipulates that 2 members of the Council should be also members of academic community and civil society and there is only a handful of persons from these two groups that have the necessary exam, and none of them applied for the position in the Council.


2018 Annual Report on the work of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption adopted in the Parliament

June 2019
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2018 Annual Report on the work of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption adopted in the Parliament. The report shows increase in number of misdemeanour proceedings for violation of the anti-corruption legislation and dismissals due to incompatibility of functions and conflicts of interest, as well as increase of public awareness on the work and mandate of the Agency. The format and content of the report itself has been improved as a result of the recommendations provided by the EU/CoE Action against Economic Crime in Montenegro.


The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare under scrutiny of State Audit Institution

May 2019
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The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare under scrutiny of State Audit Institution. The State Audit Institution (SAI) gave a double negative opinion on the annual financial report of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare for 2017. They determined that the report wasn’t presented fairly and objectively in line with the financial provisions. Based on the audit, it was determined that the Ministry hasn’t shown the income of social centres and public institutions worth €989,000. Neither have they presented expenses worth €979,900, nor the deposits of these institutions. The SAI concluded that the Ministry didn’t use the funds in line with the Law on Budget and noted deficiencies regarding expenses for business trips and public procurement.


European Commission 2018 Country Report on Progress of Montenegro published

May 2019
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European Commission 2018 Country Report on Progress of Montenegro published. The report recognizes the steps taken by Montenegrin authorities to align legislation in the area of anti-money laundering, and limited progress in the area of anti-corruption policies and combating organised crime. However, it was underlined that further efforts are needed to establish a convincing track-record of processing and sanctioning cases of high-corruption and organized crime, as well as the cases of abuse of state resources for electoral purposes. A swift institutional reaction was sought for the “Envelope“affair from January 2019 and the “Recordings” affair from 2012, both of which involved violations of the Law on Financing of Political Entities and Electoral Campaigns.


Asset declarations of Montenegro’s President under public scrutiny

January 2019
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Asset declarations of Montenegro’s President under public scrutiny. Among number of affairs initiated by Mr Dusko Knezevic, the owner of Atlas bank indicted for money laundering, a long list of allegations is also tied to current President and former Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović. Mr Knezevic has submitted documentation proving that he paid the debt of Mr Djukanovic on his revolving card in the amount of €16,000 euros in 2016. NGOs invited Agency for Prevention of Corruption to issue misdemeanour order to Mr Djukanovic, for not declaring an increase in assets larger than €5000 and for failing to report the gift in the amount of €16000, or debt on revolving cards, but the Agency for Prevention of Corruption declined the initiative and stated that settling public officials’ debt on revolving cards cannot be considered as a gift.


Ex-mayor of Podgorica caught on tape receiving $100,000 USD for party funding

January 2019
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Ex-mayor of Podgorica caught on tape receiving $100,000 USD for party funding. Mr Dusko Knezevic, indicted in case where €500 million were allegedly laundered through his banks, has submitted to the media the footage of himself handing an envelope containing €97.500 euros to former mayor of Podgorica Slavoljub Stijepović prior to his electoral campaign rally in Zeta (Podgorica). The Agency for Prevention of Corruption concluded that there are no indications that Democractic Party of Socialists has received private donations in amount which exceeds the legal barrier, which is two thousand euros for donations by natural entities and ten thousand for donations by legal entities. However, the ex-Mayor of Podgorica was indicted by the Special State Prosecution for money laundering through assistance.

Mr Knezevic has also submitted to the media the audio file where Vice governor of the Central Bank of Montenegro, Velibor Milošević extorts the money from him, needed to bribe 6 controllers of Central bank. In the recording it is clearly audible that the report on operations of the Atlas bank, in possession of Mr Knezevic will be negative unless he bribes 6 controllers in amounts of €5-6000 each. Mr Milosevic was arrested and charged with abuse of public office.


Criminal charges pressed for laundering of more than €500m

December 2018
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Criminal charges pressed for laundering of more than €500m. The Police put forward criminal charges against 174 physical persons and legal entities, including six former and present employees of Atlas Bank, for money laundering. The investigating judge initiated an investigation against the president of the Atlas group and several suspects from his companies for alleged money laundering through the E-commerce service of Atlas Bank from November 2011 until November 2018.


The property of the Honorary Consul of the Netherlands in Montenegro seized

December 2018
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The property of the Honorary Consul of the Netherlands in Montenegro seized. The Special State Prosecution has requested seizure of the several million Euro’s worth of property of the Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Montenegro, Mr Lambertus Vos. This property was previously frozen during the course of the money laundering investigation conducted by Dutch authorities, based on charges that he had laundered money through his real estate investments in Montenegro.


The State Audit Institution and Supreme State Prosecution of Montenegro pledge to jointly accelerate processing of economic crimes

December 2018
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The State Audit Institution and Supreme State Prosecution of Montenegro pledge to jointly accelerate processing of economic crimes. On 5 December 2018, representatives of the State Audit Institution (SAI) and the Supreme State Prosecution (SSP) of Montenegro signed the Protocol on Cooperation aimed at making the process of identification and prosecution of criminal activities more efficient. The Supreme State Prosecutor underlined that the Protocol will be a tool to overcome two major obstacles to effective investigations: inability of the prosecution service to adequately understand and interpret findings of audit reports and lack of capacities of auditors to put forward sufficiently substantiated criminal charges. Signing the Protocol on Cooperation was one of the recommendations provided to the authorities through the CoE/EU Horizontal Facility Action against Economic Crime in Montenegro.


Montenegro authorities begin the update of the National AML/CFT Risk Assessment

November 2018
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Montenegro authorities begin the update of the National AML/CFT Risk Assessment. Montenegro has begun updating its National Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing National Risk Assessment (NRA) with a two-day workshop supported by the CoE/EU Horizontal Facility Action against Economic Crime in Montenegro (AEC-MNE). The process is being coordinated by the Financial Intelligence Unit of Montenegro.