Economist - Question of the week (Verica Barać)

October 20, 2008

What are the obstacles regarding fight against corruption and how to improve the efficiency of institutions?

Verica Barac, chairwoman of the Anti Corruption Council

Verica Barać
Fight against 
corruption is blocked by unefficient and highly dependent institutions who are to implement legislation, Commission for Protection of Competition, Securities Commission, Commissionner for Information of Public Importance, Committee for Resolving Conflicts of Interests, and eventually judiciary and prosecution. All these institutions are very fragile and could be easily preassured. A particular institution has suffered in every affair. Although it hasn’t been revoked, The Commission for Protection of Competition has been totally put away, when it established illegal concentration of Delta Company and the Commission is the only institution which is to implement the Law on Protection of Competition. Even the Minister in charge said that there was no monopoly, adding that it could be found in statistics. Inversely, the competent institution for implementation of the Law is the Commission and such things just facilitate the destabilization of these institutions.

Second problem is that the legislation is adopted with a lot of shortages under preassure of those behind political parties, which compromises instituions’ work even more. There are not clearly defined regulations regarding relevant market in the Law on Protection of Competition, like in EU countries. The existing law doesn’t let the Commission to issue an order regarding shares’ sale or to divide a company which has acquired monopoly position on the market. Those provisions, which are in legislation of all EU members, have been deliberately ommited. 

Similar shortages could be found in the Law on Conflicts of Interests, too. Instead  of implementing Committee’s proposals in order to fix those shortages, the authorities aim to revoke the Committee. Thus, the institutions are completely disabled in regards to law inforcement. 

The essence of good governance and our main objective is that every citizen is assured that the equal law enforcement under the same conditions must be guarantied by state institutions. But, it is about well planned institutions with good work condotions, which are not easilly subjected to preassure and which are not revoked every day. 

The government amends legislation in order to restore a particular institution whenever some problem occurs. Thus, the institution hasn’t got stability and clearness in its work and is unable to ensure law enforcement. Republic Committee for Resolving Conflicts of Interests is a good example on how institutions are easily revoked and their work anulled, oppositely to the security creation rules. The best thing is to allow the Committee to continue its good practice in the subject matter, to improve the Law and to improve work conditions in order to advance Committee’s practice. But, the decision is to revoke the Committee, only four years after its foundation. Any other institution will start from the beginning, even if the proposed Law is good, which is not the case and taxpayers will waste their money and time which have already been spent on the enforcement of the Law on Conflicts of Interests. 


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