CORRUPTION Clearing up the corruption in the Anti-Corruption Commission
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CIVIL announced Saso Ordanoski’s column “Hang the SCPC” in December 2017, which started revealing the corruption in the state institution in charge of preventing corruption. Ironically, right? CIVIL issued an announcement almost at the same time Ordanoski’s column came out, in which it demanded resignation from the members of the State Election Commission and of the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption because of the findings that CIVIL came to about corruption, abuse of office, irresponsible spending of public money and about the mobbing in these two institutions.
Actually, the column and numerous texts published on CIVIL Media along with CIVIL’s announcements, were prompted precisely by the serious indications that the abuses neither begins nor ends in the SEC, but that the silence of the SCPC is a symptom of many deeper and more serious problems accompany the state institutions.
The SCPC reacted immediately then, with a request for an apology from the author and from CIVIL Media, with the threat: “The Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services, journalist associations and all relevant institutions that conduct supervision over the work of the media will be informed about this, while the calls for lynch represent serious hate speech, which is punishable by law…The SCPC requests for your media to withdraw the specific text and also a public apology from the author, otherwise the SCPC will initiate a court procedure against your media and the author of the text”.
On December 15, 2017, CIVIL submitted a request for free access to public information for the period April 14, 2015 to the date of submitting the request, with which it requested a number of established cases on corruption, which cases concern documentation and information on the type and value of the public procurements, including also the procurement of communications equipment, information on the amount of the monthly incomes of all the members of the SCPC, the amount of the individually reimbursed awards, fees or bonuses, along with the travel expenses, information on paid overtime work and information on amounts paid for representation per member of the SCPC and in total.
Their first response was actually a notice for prolonging the legally prescribed deadline, with an explanation that CIVIL’s request entails collecting extensive documentation for which additional time is needed.
In the meantime, CIVIL maintained its position that the members of the SCPC, led by Igor Tanturovski, need to resign because instead of preventing corruption, they actually practice it.
Even the Special Prosecutor’s Office has been for a longer time leading a serious investigation into the work of the Anti-Corruption Commission. After alerting the public with Ordanoski’s column and CIVIL’s announcements and research, the Government and the Parliament called for resignations and responsibility, whereas the Public Prosecutor’s Office is yet to form an investigation. Cheers!
Undoubtedly, the SCPC have realized that they will have to also address the Service for General Affairs and Common Affairs of the Government, the government finance department, for some of the information that CIVIL has demanded. Hence, following the submitted request on December 25, for five requests of public information, and a response of January 18, finally on January 25, CIVIL received a reply from the SCPC.
The SCPC submitted to CIVIL two yearly reports for 2015 and 2016, which are also available on their website, along with information on the number of cases that have been established until December 25, 2017.
It also submitted to CIVIL the information it had received from the Government on three additional questions, namely, on the total amount of the monthly incomes of the members of the SCPC, on the amount of the travel expenses per SCPC member, and also on the total representation costs, as there are no records for individual ones in the period 2015-2017.
As to the information on the awards, fees and bonuses and payments made for overtime work, the Government has no records, and obviously neither has the SCPC, having in consideration that it had requested this information from the competent state department.
The SCPC notified CIVIL that it had no public procurement for communications equipment in the period 2015-2017.
However, what the SCPC did not submit, despite the obligation for transparency, are the audit reports. In fact, the SCPC published only the 2014 Audit Report on its website.
It is precisely these reports, for the period 2015—2017, that would answer CIVIL’s questions about the “additional” spending of public money with which the SCPC disposes with for awards, bonuses, fees, overtime work and travel expenses.
According to information that CIVIL has, the system for internal financial control in the SCPC is not functioning!
There is evidence of purposeless spending of budget funds, use of private vehicles for “official purposes”, reimbursement of costs based on unreliable and incomplete documents, that is, blank unsigned orders for reimbursement of travel expenses. Furthermore, there are no records for the working hours of only Igor Tanturovski and the members of the SCPC. Also, there is no procedure for use of representation funds.
One of CIVIL’s demands refers to the total, but also individual amount for representation per SCPC member. The reply of the Service for General and Common Affairs of the Government is that there are no records for any individual amount, but that the total amount is 15,587 denars in 2015, 91,479 denars for 2016 and 17,122 denars for 2017. Let’s recall, there is no procedure for the use of representation funds, but they were paid anyway! Outside of the procedures. The remark of the Public Revenue Office referred to exactly this matter.
Unreliable orders for reimbursement of travel expenses – personal vehicles used for official purposes.
In the SCPC, a one-time reimbursement has been made in a total of 330,226 denars to three members of the SCP in 2015 for retroactive costs, and monthly payments for one member in the amount of 24,259 denars for 2016.
It has been concluded from the submitted orders for reimbursement of travel expenses that it is not known when and why that money had been spent, who approved the payments and whether they had spent the money they had received. Not to mention the vagueness in regards to the purpose of the spending, because it is not known what that money was spent for, there are no reports. Given the fact that these payments were decided at a session of the SCPC, then it is president Tanturovski who bears the responsibility.
The total amount of 24,259 denars is for paid, but not covered 25 tolls in the amount of 17, 237 denars and a total of 12,369 for business trips.
Purposeless use of budget funds
From the audit we conclude that two members of the SCPC used 32,310 denars for costs incurred with their own vehicles.
Furthermore, it has been revealed that the non-purpose funds have been used for rental of an apartment and for utilities costs for a member of the SCPC in the amount of 168,818 denars. More specifically, there are no bills for utilities and for the submitted documentation for the rent, hence it turns out that the member of the SCPC received 350 euros monthly, but paid only 97 euros for the rent.
Restaurant bills are also no exception in the irresponsible work of the members of the SCPC. They submit double restaurant bills and are reimbursed for the same. Thus, the restaurant bills of Tanturovski are unjustified, but still, Goran Milenkov, one of the SCPC’s members leads in this area.
Full working time records
It is not known whether the members of the SCPC came to work at all. There are no records for them.
From the audit report it can be seen that one member of the SCPC submitted travel orders for per diems for a business trip, a travel order for a business trip with his own transportation and a travel order for attending a session with his own transportation. The three travel orders do not overlap in time, that is, the presence at the session and the departure for the business trip.
And this is not all. CIVIL’s research team will continue with the analyses of the documents it has at its disposal, which the SCPC did not submit, even though they do have a legal obligation for this.