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Amending the anti-corruption agency law before its implementation in January 2010

The organisation Transparency-Serbia warns the public that the anti-corruption agency law, which was passed on 4 November 2008 and is due to be fully exercised by 1 January 2010, is in danger before it has even been officially implemented. The law should resolve urgent issues by securing the implementation of the anti-corruption strategy and independent control of the financial assets of political parties and checking of accuracy of data stated in officials’ property reports. However, it has come under scrutiny for containing insufficiently clear regulations which would diminish the positive effects.

The implementation of the regulations of the law has been delayed until 2010 so that meanwhile the members of the board of agency can be elected. These members will then choose the director in open competition. Only after these procedures are undertaken will the necessary legal acts be developed and other processes related to the agency be employed. Therefore, by delaying exercising the new regulations of the anti-corruption agency till 2010 they cannot be implemented in 2009. Our organisation has voiced concern with this element of the law with parliamentary parties and suggested how it could be amended, however they have yet to broach the topic in parliamentary discussions.

We would also like to emphasize that the institution by which this law proposes members of board has a duty to nominate candidates until 4 December 2008. If the law is not changed the candidates would then wait for election for another thirteen months. Besides that, the process of nominating candidates might lead to overstepping the anticipated deadlines set in article 79. In the process of electing a candidate it is unclear as to whether institutions will put forward one candidate or more.

The significance of the weakness of areas of this law is made even greater by the fact that at the end of 2009 the mandate of the members of the Republic board for resolving conflict of interest expires. The authorities Agency should then take over from 1 January 2010. If the law is not amended a situation could arise whereby Serbia is left for several months without the body that makes decisions on the conflict of interest for public officials.

Bearing in mind the very serious compromise to state efforts in the fight against corruption which these omissions could induce our organisation strongly suggests that certain articles of this law must be amended immediately.

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