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Weak institutions against strong corruption

Detailed National Integrity System Study points to weak, sluggish and slow public mechanisms

After almost a year of analytical work the National Integrity System Study BiH 2007 was presented today at the Sarajevo Holiday Inn, prepared by Transparency International BiH in co-operation with some thirty eminent experts from across the country. The Study follows the international methodology of TI, which represented a foundation for national anti-corruption strategies in over 60 countries worldwide.

NIS is an analysis of institutional capacities and the legal anti-corruption framework. A strong support of the Open Society Fund (OSF) BiH and the German Government enabled this research. The key findings emphasise a contradictory and complex legislation, weak and politicised mechanisms and law enforcements structures, bureaucratic apparatus several fold larger than a European average, involving numerous administrative procedures, which all creates a climate for an immense corruption growth. Conflict of interest dominates public institutions, while prevention mechanisms and legal solutions are either not being observed or applied. “We remain particularly concerned by the lack of transparency in the work of the political parties and dominance of selected elites not only in the country’s legislative and executive, but also in the economic flows, privatisation as well as in the so-called independent institutions, such as supreme audit, ombudsmen, election commission etc. that were once set up in a professional manner”, stated Boris Divjak, Chair of Board of Directors of TI BiH, stressing thus the deteriorating conditions in some public offices.

Around eighty officials from all the key BiH institutions attended the presentation of the findings and the roundtable was opened by Dobrila Govedarica, Director of OSF BiH, stating their “content with such an in-depth qualitative analysis that represents a critical step in strengthening a strategic approach to the anti-corruption campaign”. Country Office Director of the World Bank Dirk Rerinermann in his presentation on governance challenges in the coming years focused on a “need to improve governance and transparency in BiH in the coming years by strengthening rules and behaviours as well as institutions capable of enforcing them. He called on the new governments to show leadership and to set an example at the top, and emphasised that the World Bank Group will be ready to assist BH authorities in the coming years”.

Responding to the introductory remarks, the newly appointed Chair of the Council of Ministers, dr. Nikola Špirić agreed with the observations that an adequate framework to combat corruption is still lacking at the State level and called on TI BiH and a wider NGO sector, business community and international partners, in consultation with the new governments, “to improve the existing legislation and help shape a state according to the will of those living in it and those who would like BiH to reach a sustainable economic growth and a European perspective”.

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