The PM`s announcement of the formation of a new Anti-Corruption Commission is long overdue

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In a recent TV interview, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev stated that the members of the new Commission for Prevention of Corruption will be elected as soon as possible, which is inconsistent, owing to the fact that during its time as an opposition party, SDSM announced a new format of the Anti-Corruption Commission in the first 6 months in office. But neither of that happened, although 18 months of office have already passed.

Both the Government and the politics are willing to put an end to that as soon as possible. Immediately after the law is passed by the Parliament, the members of the Anti-Corruption Commission will be elected and the body will be formed according to a new legislation, which is completely in conformity with the Venice Commission, the European Delegation…

[Source: 360 Степени, Alsat M TV – date: 16 November 2018]

EXPLANATION:

Besides the progress in the EU and NATO integration process, one of SDSM’s primary promises that fueled its rise to power was the restoration of the legal state and the unwavering fight against crime and corruption. In this regard, the then opposition social democrats also announced a new format of the Anti-Corruption Commission, which will truly fight crime and corruption by using strengthened remit and instruments. In fact, this promise is part of SDSM’s pre-election program.

We shall propose a new format of a true Anti-Corruption Commission, with access to all institutions and information, strong mandate and independent cadres, (page 233 of SDSM’s pre-election program “Plan for Life in Macedonia” for the snap general elections in 2016).

Furthermore, this promise is set out in the section “Plan 180”, which covers the urgent reform priorities of the new Government within the first 6 months in office.

Taking into account that the Parliament elected the incumbent Government on 31 May 2017, the Government was supposed to at least propose a new format for the Anti-Corruption Commission by the end of last year. But, it’s been 18 months since the incumbent Government was elected, and neither the new concept that would provide the baseline for the future Anti-Corruption Commission has been proposed nor it seems that this regulatory body will be formed any time soon.

Instead, the country has been functioning without an Anti-Corruption Commission of any sort for 8 months, having in mind that in March five of seven members of the Commission resigned following the scandal of the abuse of funds. To wit, Public Revenue Office’s audit of the operations of Anti-Corruption Commission’s previous members found that they had been reimbursed for travel expenses on the basis of bogus travel orders. Despite their claims for an orchestrated case, they resigned following the discovery.

In the interview for 360 степени aired by Alsat M TV on 16 November 2018, Prime Minister Zaev sugarcoated the fact that an Anti-Corruption Commission of any kind doesn’t exist in the country for more than half a year and pointed out that there used to be one formal body which didn’t yield results. He also highlighted that the Government has already passed and delivered to the Parliament the new law on anti-corruption, which would be the base for the formation of the new Commission for Prevention of Corruption.

Both the Government and the politics are willing to put an end to that as soon as possible. Immediately after the law is passed by the Parliament, the members of the Anti-Corruption Commission will be elected and the body will be formed according to a new legislation, which is completely in conformity with the Venice Commission, the European Delegation. All shortcomings we have noticed have been taken into consideration, the Council for Reforms has approved it and it will make a good legislation for a successful fight against corruption” Zaev said in 360 степени (51:50 to 52:22 in the video).

The Prime Minister used this opportunity to emphasize that when the two-thirds majority needed for initiating the procedure for amending the Constitution pursuant to the Agreement with Greece seemed less plausible, the Government made a political decision and started a procedure in the Parliament for electing new members of the Anti-Corruption Commission according to the law currently in effect. However, the required majority was obtained, the snap general elections were out and this whole process was halted.

Nevertheless, Zaev’s statement that a new Anti-Corruption Commission will be formed as soon as the Parliament has passed the new law on anti-corruption runs counter to the announcements and promises of SDSM and its representatives that the new format of the commission will be proposed by the end of 2017. The year 2018 is about to end, and not only there isn’t a new Anti-Corruption Commission but also there is no commission for verification of indications for corrupt officials whatsoever.

SOURCES:

Assessed by: Vlatko Stojanovski

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This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.