Extending and Clarifying Responsibilities of the Anti-Corruption Agency (RS0005)
The Anti-Corruption Agency has achieved significant results in the field of prevention of conflict of interest regarding the incompatibility of functions. However, the issue of conflict of interest, in terms of elimination of the influence of the private interest of the persons performing a public function, has not been regulated properly, which inhibits actions of the Agency. Therefore, it is necessary to specify and provide mechanisms for monitoring and consistent application of the provisions on the conflict of interest and increase accountability and transparency in actions. In the field of control of assets and income of public high officials, the Agency has faced difficulties related to the verification of accuracy and completeness of assets and income declarations, and keeping a register. The main deficiencies in practice are a loosely defined rights and obligations of a public high officials, as well as non-existence of a register of public functions.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
Commitment 5. Extending and clarifying responsibilities of the Anticorruption Agency
1. Improve the provisions of the Law on the Anti-Corruption Agency so as to clearly distinguish and regulate concepts of cumulation of functions (to prevent performing multiple public functions which are interconnected in a conflict of interest) and conflicts of interest (to eliminate private interest in exercising public powers), and to expand the circle of related persons for whom a public official is required to submit a declaration on assets and income, as well as to authorize the Agency by law, to carry out extraordinary control of assets, and to act upon anonymous notifications.
a. Establishment of the Special Working Group;
b. Preparation of Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on the Anti-Corruption
c. Determination and publishing of Public Hearing Program;
d. Conducting public debate;
e. Submitting Draft Law to the Government for consideration and determination
of the Bill
Responsible Institution(s): Ministry of Justice
Supporting Institution(s): Anticorruption Agency; CSOs
Start Date: Quarter I 2015 End Date: Quarter IV 2015
The fight against corruption in Serbia is regulated through numerous documents that lead to conflicts of interest and an unclear division of responsibilities. This commitment intends to enhance the fight against corruption by tackling these issues through amendments to the Law on the Anticorruption Agency. The amendments clarify the law’s functions and authorize it to carry out administrative controls, among others.
The working group to prepare the draft amendments to the Law on the Anticorruption Agency was established. There was little evidence of the work’s meetings and progress on preparing the amendments, as well as progressing on the remaining three sub-activities. For more information, see Serbia’s 2014-2015 midterm IRM report.
End of term: Limited
Apart from the establishment of the working group, which occurred in the first half of the action plan implementation cycle, and the working group’s meetings, the IRM researchers could not find further attempts by the responsible institution to make progress on the overall activities within the timeline envisaged in the commitment. However, the draft law and the Public Hearing Program were created, and the Public Hearing was approved on 28 September 2016,[Note 18: Republic of Serbia, Government Decision on the Public Hearing Program of the Draft Law (September 2016), [Serbian] http://bit.ly/2fdIKCU] which falls out of the research period of this report. Additionally, according to the government’s justification of the draft law,[Note 19: Republic of Serbia, The Government’s Justification for the Draft Law, [Serbian] http://bit.ly/2fRP5p6 ] the draft law and the Public Hearing Program were not a part of Serbia’s OGP efforts. They were framed in the context of the National Anticorruption Strategy 2013-2018,[Note 20: Republic of Serbia, “The National Anti-Corruption Strategy in the Republic of Serbia for the Period 2013-2018,” 1 July 2013, http://bit.ly/2gaNdJf] the National Anticorruption Strategy Action Plan,[Note 21: Republic of Serbia, “The Action Plan for the Implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy in the Republic of Serbia for the Period 2013-2018,” 25 August 2013, http://www.mpravde.gov.rs/obavestenje/2837/akcioni-plan-za-sprovodjenje-nacionalne-strategije-za-borbu-protiv-korupcije.php. ] and the Chapter 23 Action Plan of the EU accession negotiation process in Serbia.[Note 22: Republic of Serbia, The Action Plan for Chapter 23: Draft by the Negotiation Group for Chapter 23, (April 2015), http://bit.ly/2fRLFmr ] Hence, the implementation level for this commitment in the OGP context in Serbia and at the end of the reporting term remained limited.
Did it open government?
Access to information: Did not change
Public accountability: Did not change
The fight against corruption has been high on the government’s official list of priorities.[Note 23: Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucica, “Framework Exposé,” Exposé, Republic of Serbia, 2014, [Serbian] http://bit.ly/1fIXhk9] However, there are still basic legislative issues with how responsibilities for preventing and fighting corruption are defined and allocated. The commitment intended to amend the Law on the Anticorruption Agency to allocate more administrative control to the Agency, as well as to define better its functions. However, this commitment did not lead to changes in access to information or public participation. Its level of implementation was limited, and the draft law neither was produced within the action plan timeline nor could produce any effect on government openness, in terms of either access to information or public accountability, without Parliament passing the law.
This commitment was not carried over to the 2016-2018 action plan, and its implementation is planned to occur outside of the framework of OGP.