Board members and officials: receiving both salaries and honoraria
Telecom, ELEM and Macedonian Post do not disclose the honoraria of the members of the managing boards, declaring it classified information or referring to provisions in the Statute
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Nebojsa Stajkovic has been a non-executive member of the Board of Directors of “Macedonian Telecom” AD Skopje since April this year, after previously, since 2009, he had performed the same function in “T-Mobile” Macedonia AD Skopje. In the past 9 years at the same time he has been working as assistant minister in the Ministry of Interior (MOI) responsible for IT and telecommunications. Seemingly, nothing at stake except the fact that Stajkovic works in the ministry which is legally responsible to cooperate with operators, including “Macedonian Telecom” AD Skopje. Telecom, as it is known, has lately been particularly topical for the affair for alleged bribe of politicians associated with prolongation of market liberalization.
Nebojsa Stajkovic is a non-executive member of the Board of Directors of Macedonian Telecom AD-Skopje and at the same time he works as an assistant minister in the Ministry of Interior which cooperates with operators in the field of interception of communications
Telecom is one of the companies which the Center for Investigative Journalism SCOOP-Macedonia has investigated, along with thirty other, seeking answers under the Law on Free Access to Public Information of who sits in the managing and supervisory boards of state enterprises, and those which the state has a stake in, as is the case with Macedonian Telecom. Of the 30 surveyed institutions, 18 gave us complete answers, while others had either incomplete answers or no answer given. We did not receive any information about the honoraria only from Macedonian Telecom, Macedonian Power Plants and Macedonian Post, which keep information about directors’ salaries as a state secret or refer to provisions in the Statute. In some companies there was duplication of members of the managing and supervisory boards.
In the reply that SCOOP-Macedonia received from “Macedonian Telekom” AD Skopje on June 26, 2015, among the names of the members of the Board of Directors was the name of Nebojsa Stajkovic, Assistant Minister of Interior. Stajkovic’s long biography states that in 2006 he was appointed Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Interior in charge of Information Technology and Telecommunications, more precisely, Head of the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications. The list of companies that he had previously worked for includes the name of the company “Eksiko” otherwise known in public for its relationship with several Macedonian companies, including businessman Orce Kamcev’s ones.
Stajkovic, according to Prizma.mk is Vladislav Stajkovic’s brother, owner of the company NVSP, mentioned in one of the political bombs for alleged donation from Israel, which allegedly involves the ex-head of ASC, Sasho Mijalkov. According to the Dean of the Faculty of Law “Justinian I” Borce Davitkovski, Stajkovic’s membership in the Board of Directors of Telecom is a classic conflict of interest. “An official who works in an institution, especially in the ministry, cannot be a member of the managing or supervisory board of a public enterprise, public institution where his ministry has oversight, supervises or somehow is functionally related in connection with control or supervisory functions. It is not permissible and cannot be. The same as a member of a managing or supervisory board in a company founded by the City Hall cannot be advisor in the City Hall because they are founders and exercise control over that public company. So when the Annual Report on the annual work comes, he should actually control himself because he is a member of the managing or supervisory board. It is the basics in law from prevent against corruption or conflict of interest. And particularly that senior officials, as a rule, should not be members of managing or supervisory boards because automatically the control or monitoring function would be lost in the state”, says Davitkovski. We tried to get in touch with Stajkovic and ask him whether he thinks that there is a conflict of interest because at the same time he is both assistant minister and member of the Board of Directors of Telecom. From his office they sent us to the information service of the Ministry. Ivo Kotevski, spokesman for the Interior Ministry confirmed that Stajkovic was still current Assistant Interior Minister. We addressed the State Commission against Corruption but received no reply. Our question was whether a procedure or action had been taken against Nebojsa Stajkovic. We called Antonija Andonova, PR of SCPC, but she did not reply to our calls. “A person who in any way is present in the bodies of government, at any level, a member of the bodies of any public company or firm that performs functions of special interest to the state must not be a member of the bodies of such company and such public enterprise, because it is likely to abuse the function for which he was appointed. In the present case (Nebojsa Stajkovic), there is no doubt that the position held in the state administrative authority allows him to perform direct influence to his advantage in the governing body of such public company”, said Tito Petkovski, former chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for supervising implementation of measures to monitor communications by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense. He adds that while he was the head of the commission, Ministry of Interior did not allow any control over interception of communications. According to Vanja Mihailova, former member of the Anti-Corruption Commission, receiving money from different budget places is against the law. “The Law on Prevention of Corruption and the Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interests forbid a person to get a salary from two state institutions. It is incompatibility of office if an elected or appointed officer cannot be a member of the managing or supervisory board of any institution. This is absolutely unacceptable”, says Mihailova. She wonders why the State Commission against Corruption does not react, but this case is not first. “We as a country have an obligation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation and the European Union to fight against corruption, but our government does not comply with these obligations. Here anti-corruptive legislation is a dead letter on paper”, Mihailova said. Salaries of directors in “Telecom” – a secret to the public The salaries of the members of the Board of Directors of Telecom are still a secret to the public, although the company has partly state capital, and thus it should have accountability to citizens. Only the shareholders of the company have information about the salaries of these members and their benefits are regulated at the sessions of the Assembly of the company. This is the answer to the request for free access to public information that we orally submitted to Macedonian Telecom. According to Vanja Mihailova, former member of the Anti-Corruption Commission, this is unacceptable. “State institutions, public companies or any institutions which have state capital must be open to citizens and private companies because they are funded by their money”, says Mihailova. Data on the directors’ salaries remained a secret in ELEM, Macedonian Post and Telecom. Macedonian Post did not even submit the names of the members of the Managing and Supervisory Board within the legal timeframe. “In terms of the required information on the amount of monthly income of the members of the Board of ELEM, we inform you that the information requested under the Contract for regulation of mutual rights and obligations between the member of the Managing Board and AD ELEM Skopje is a trade secret. Accordingly, the requested information is turned down in accordance with Article 6, paragraph 1, item 1 of the Law on Free Access to Public Information, under which holders of information can reject a request for access to information if the information concerns information that is classified information with a certain degree of secrecy. Also, in accordance with Article 6, paragraph 1, item 2 of the same Act, the holder of information may refuse a request for access to information when it comes to personal information the disclosure of which would harm the protection of personal data”, stated in the statement submitted by ELEM.
Such behavior of the state company is incomprehensible to the fighters against corruption. According to them, when it comes to public money, data must be transparent. Dragan Malinovski, former member of the Anti-Corruption Commission says:
“While I was a member of the Anti-Corruption Commission we had a case in ESM when directors did not want to say how much they earned. It was from 2003 to 2006. In those agreements directors had some extra bonuses and other amenities. They referred to the confidentiality of the contract. We did not agree with that. A secret contract is possible in a private company, not a state company. In a private company there is no public interest, while in state-owned companies there is a public interest and no secret contracts. Eventually they submitted the contracts”, said Malinovski.
Aleksandar Stojkov both professor and member of the Board of Directors of Telecom
Except for Stajkovic, experts have recognized a conflict of interests for Aleksandar Stojkov, Associate Dean for International Cooperation of the Law Faculty “Justinian I” in Skopje. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Telecom.
According to Sladjana Taseva, former head of the Anti-Corruption Commission, such cases open work for the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption.
“Receiving a salary from two budget places is forbidden by the Law on prevention of conflict of interests. The practice of the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption in these cases is to impose measures for cancellation of one of the functions or public reprimand if this recommendation is not respected. There is no other sanction which would be more appropriate and binding”, said Taseva.
From the Anti-Corruption Commission we did not receive a response if a procedure has been initiated or action taken against Stojkov due to a conflict of interest. He has been a member of the National Board of Accreditation for Higher Education in the Republic of Macedonia, a member of the Steering Committee for Supervision of Fully Funded Pension Insurance, a member of the Supervisory Board of the Macedonian Post, a non-executive member of the board of directors of recent T-Mobile and a member of the Supervisory Board of Ohis.
We tried to get in touch with Stojkov and ask for his membership in Telecom, but no one answered the phone at the Law Faculty in Skopje.
We managed to make contact with the recent adviser to the Prime Minister in the Government and ex-Education Minister Pance Kralev about the current composition of Macedonian representatives in Telecom.
He said he did not want to give statements on behalf of the company and that we should turn to Telecom for official statement. Kralev confirmed that he resigned the previous function as adviser to Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski due to a conflict of interest. We asked him what motivated him to accept the presidency in Telecom, but he replied that he did not want to give any statements related to Telecom.
(The story was is supported within the NED project “Raising Awareness about Corruption through Investigative Reporting”)
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