State without anti-corruption commission – paradise for politicians
- Dragan Malinovski, a former member of the SCPC in the period from 2002 to 2007, says that we cannot expect positive comments in the next report of the European Commission.
- The former Anti-Corruption Commission did not work, but now we do not have any at all” says the former anticorruption commissioner Arif Musa.
- “It was necessary to act immediately and to appoint members in accordance with the old Law, emphasizes Slagjana Taseva.
- In addition to the Anti-Corruption Commission, CPRFAPI is “crippled” too – since May there is no one to decide on the cases because at the moment, besides the President, the Commission has only one member.
Written by: Bjanka Stankovikj
For nine months now, one of the most important anti-corruption institutions in Macedonia – the State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption – does not function. Five members in March submitted resignations after the information about their travel expenses that was revealed by the portal “Sakam da kazham” (“I want to say”). Now there are only two anti-corruption commissioners in the Commission, Suzana Taskova Adzikotareva and Najdo Spasevski. In their opinion, this information did not affect them to leave the Anti-Corruption Commission.
IT’S PARLIAMENT’S TURN
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, in a recent interview on Alsat-M, said that the Government adopted the new Law on Anti-Corruption Commission, it was handed over to the Parliament and the procedure for its adoption is under way.
“The government demonstrates a wish to finish it and it will complete it as soon as possible. Once the Parliament has passed the Law, members will be immediately elected and a commission will be formed with a new legislation that is fully coordinated with the Venice Commission, with the European delegation, and all the weaknesses that we have seen from before are incorporated”, emphasized the Prime Minister.
When asked about the procedure for adopting the new law on anti-corruption commission, the Parliament said: “It is in the first reading of the Parliament, the first reading has passed in the committee for political system, and the legislative committee is on Monday”.
“THE GOVERNMENT IS BETTER OFF WITHOUT AN ANTICORRUPTION COMMISSION”
Experts say the country should not allow an absence of a functional body that will fight corruption, for a long period. Although there seems to be a way to resolve the situation, it appears that for some months now the necessity of this body in the state has been neglected.
Slagjana Taseva from “Transparency International” says there was an option to appoint members in order not to shut down the institution. According to her, the Commission cannot formally function if there are not enough members, and at the same time, all decisions are made by the majority of the members. Taseva emphasized that in no case should the SCPC have been allowed to remain empty, i.e. without members.
“It was necessary to act immediately and to appoint members in accordance with the old Law, and then to work on a new one and wait for the election of new members of the Commission under the new Law”, said Taseva.
Arif Musa, a former member of the State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, said that the non-existence and the non-functioning of this institution is a great pity for the state and a huge failure of this government. Having the same attitude as Taseva, Musa believes that the government sees no need for the existence of this body.
“The former Anti-Corruption did not work, but now we do not have any at all. In fact, the government is better off without this institution. The same pattern from the time of the old government continues with the new government, the less control – the better. The difference between them is that there has been some progress in terms of the Agreement with Greece”, Musa explains.
He adds that the government cannot constantly rely on the Agreement with Greece, as an excuse for the slow implementation of other reforms in the country.
“This government may think that it will draw public attention to the constitutional changes related to the Agreement with Greece, but that is just one segment. Other organs in the state should function aside from this, because they do not depend on the Agreement itself, for example the state administration. That is, we need to have control bodies, especially the Anti-Corruption Commission, the State Audit Office, the Prosecutor’s Offices, which will function as they should”, added the former anti-corruption commissioner.
THE SCPC WEBSITE HAS ALSO BEEN IN “HIBERNATION” FOR A LONGER TIME
The latest announcement on the website of the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption is the announcement on the occasion of the adopted Decision for announcing a referendum. They report that “the Commission has no legal basis to act and decide on submitted requests and reports from various entities related to the process of holding the referendum.”
Previously, a few posts followed related to the mission of the system for conflict prevention, event reporting, training, panel discussion. The public announcement of March 29 this year is ten days after the Assembly passed the decision to dismiss the members of the SCPC. They say that the Commission will not have the opportunity to decide on and resolve the submitted requests and applications from the parties, but the Secretariat as an expert service will act and perform the administrative and technical matters of the SCPC.
AWAITING BRUSSELS CRITICIS
In March next year, the European Commission (EC) report is expected to show the progress made by the Republic of Macedonia in terms of the reforms that it needs to implement if it wants to start accession negotiations with the European Union (EU).
Dragan Malinovski, a former member of the SCPC in the period from 2002 to 2007, says that we cannot expect positive comments in the next report of the European Commission.
“In any case we will not receive praise, nor can we expect any. However, we are talking about the Republic of Macedonia, which is undoubtedly badly ranked with regard to the issue of corruption, and by not having a functional commission, it’s really not commendable”, said Malinovski.
Slagjana Taseva says that although it is still too early to talk about the EC report, she believes that many points will be disappointing.
“I hope for a realistic and objective report from the European Commission. By the way, there are many questions hanging and waiting, starting with the judiciary and the prosecution, as well as failure to act in the fight against corruption in general. The government has a lot to do until March if we want to get at least a little positive report that will ensure the start of negotiations”, she adds.
If the Assembly does not pass the new Anti-Corruption Law in a short time, it will mean a winter sleep for the Commission with its two members and the Secretariat. This situation will put the state at risk of deepening corruption. Meanwhile, the fight remains in the hands of journalists and independent bodies.
CPRFAPI IS “CRIPPLED” TOO
The cases to be resolved by the Commission for Protection of the Right to Free Access to Public Information are trapped between the four walls of the Commission. They are also facing the same problem as the Anti-Corruption Commission. Namely, since May there is no one to decide on the cases because at the moment, besides the President, the Commission has only one member. For proper functioning, a president, a vice president and three members are needed. Inbox7 sources say there is no will either by the authorities or by the opposition, and the procedure for appointing new members is stuck in the labyrinths of the Parliament.
We asked President Blerim Iseni, but we were told that the president is not at work because of the “Albanian Alphabet Day” holiday.