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BURST Corruption kills (episode 326)

Chimneys are discharging poisons and they pollute, bosses are bargaining with the government, they sponsor parties before elections, postpone laws, and later also the application of laws…The health care system is killing the health, medical staff is leaving the country, the supply of drugs is not done regularly and the drugs are of poor quality and are expensive, it is also difficult to find them, people are dying in the hallways of hospitals…False diplomas at universities with suspicious bosses…

Xhabir Deralla

Bigshot bosses enjoy themselves in public money, not lifting a finger, running businesses on the side, promises are like fairy tales during elections, parties are business clans, they receive salaries from the poor, hypocrites rule, honest people die, children starve, mothers are in despair, fathers get drunk…

Banks suck the blood out of people, executors charge, tenders for friends and procurements for relatives are made, trips for lovers, investments without an end, investments with a suspicious end, jobs for party-relative members, jobs without working tasks, official vehicles, traffic without streets and roads, anonymous donors, suspicious donors, poor teachers, businessmen running wild, humiliated professionals, deceived people…

This quick and short list, with small changes, could be a part of an angry punk song dedicated to the Macedonian and Balkan reality. The title of the song could be – CORRUPTION KILLS, as is mine and your column “burst” today.

All the items listed and unlisted in this punk thing, are directly related to the uncontrolled corruption in the banana states of these distressing Balkans, without much prospect of pulling out of the downward spiral, if one doesn’t stand on its way decisively and once for all.

These days, Macedonia has a chance to stand in the way of corruption. For a long time now, if not too long, a Law on preventing corruption and conflict of interest has been brewing. This law has the chance to strike a blow to one of the main sources of corruption anywhere in the world, and that is the sphere in which public officials work, make and implement decisions.

I already wrote to you about this law that has already entered government procedure, and these days will be put before the MPs for voting. This is the moment when those, who we elected in the elections in 2016, from whichever party, should show that they will fulfil their promises (even if they don’t think that).

I had the privilege to meet people who for many years are working diligently on issues related to corruption and conflict of interest. These are the people in the Secretariat of the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption (SCPC), who didn’t stop working for a moment, according to legal norms that only makes their work more difficult. They continued to maintain the institution that has been headless since March this year, following the resignations of several “commissioners” after it was revealed that the Anti-corruption commission had, actually, been “Corrupt”, exactly because of those “commissioners”.

I met most of the team that works in the Secretariat – who have excellent understanding of the situation and legal material related to anti-corruption, extremely well-trained experts and experienced professionals. They, in search of social justice and a status that such a body deserves, these days have engaged also in an analysis of the proposed anti-corruption law. Item by item, they have analysed the law and have come to excellent solutions.

A little reminder…As I have already written in several other texts of burst, there were at least two versions of the law, each with its own advantages and shortcomings, for now the MPs to have in front of them a version which, obviously, is not quite well completed. In other words, let me express myself with my usual sharpness, the law is at times, and in critical times, a patch that will soon open holes in which corruption will nest itself and will continue to kill.

Several key articles in the law are confusing, starting with Article 10 on the right to re-election of SCPC members, and ending with Article 121, in which the concluding and transitional provisions have been moved.

The key for this law, extremely important in the fight against corruption, is to provide continuous work of the professional body (Secretariat) on which people can rely on for contemporary solutions in the anti-corruption struggle. These people must be provided with independence and decent salaries, with a status similar to the ones that officials have in the regulatory bodies. They and the SCPC’s future members that the parliament is yet to select, after the adoption of the law, must be given at their disposal a law that is applicable and one that truly deals with the problems related to corruption (that kills). The law is not entirely applicable the way it is now, confusing and contradictory, at least in 11 of its articles.

At the same time, somehow the regulation and modernization of the procedure of declaring assets is continuously being overlooked. Clearly and unequivocally, several times repeated both by the international institutions and in mine and your columns “burst”, it has been said that assets should be reported in electronic form. There is already a software and hardware for this (worth 600.000 euros), donation of the EU, but it is persistently not being put in function. The assets would have to be declared in a way that it won’t be possible to leave empty spaces in the application, to make “unintentional” mistakes in the zeros and similar fabrications we saw among the ultra-rich people in the government (just remember the property deeds of the cousins).

And it would be available on the Internet! And the changes in the assets would also be available on the Internet! It’s good for us to know that and the law has to provide it to us. Transparency is the angriest and most efficient fighter against corruption. So it’s about time for transparency to be provided by a law. A real law!

Have I interested you finally? Do you want to live in Macedonia free from corruption? Read my next episode on corruption (that kills) tomorrow. With more details, to help the people whose lives have become bitter by corruption, and for the politicians to pass a better law. Even if they don’t want to do that. We need to remember this.

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