After more than two years of collecting material the First basic public prosecutor’s office hasn’t found basis to proceed in case of advertised bids of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy, that attempted illegal awarding over two million euros intended for social services, according to the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM).
As a reminder, the bidding, which was advertised in 2014 it was canceled after all, due to misuse that a number of civil society organizations indicated to, and the money, instead for social services, was directed to the Children’s Rare Disease Fund.
“Numerous irregularities marked this bidding, as the money was awarded to a large number of associations registered just a month before the bidding, that do not even meet the basic criteria, to the associations that are managed by related parties or local officials who are close to local youth offices and to associations that have identical founding acts including typographical errors in the statutes”, as people from YUCOM remind.
As they stated, the requests of civil society organizations for advertising a new bid, launching ex officio investigations and effective prosecution of all those responsible for the attempt of misuse of taxpayers’ money and for the dismissal of the responsible minister Aleksandar Vulin, and remained without answers.
Prosecutor’s office had at their disposal more than two years to comply with the criminal complaint filed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM, the Civic Initiatives, Policy Center and the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability – CRTA.
In the end, after collecting information, prosecutor’s office decided that “there is no legal basis for initiating criminal proceedings against any person for any criminal offense prosecuted ex officio” say people from YUCOM.
As they say, organizations that filed a criminal complaint haven’t been asked even once to collect the necessary information on the obvious misuses that were performed during the bid, so it stays unclear what information prosecutor’s office was guided by during proceeding on the criminal report.
We think that this type of decision of prosecutor’s office clearly contributes to continuing a culture of irresponsibility for misuses and violations of regulations in public authorities’ performance, it is said within the statement.
Therefore organizations filed a request for access to information of public importance, and they requested information from prosecutor’s office on the procedure in this case, and urged them to reconsider their decision.
Recalling, Minister Aleksandar Vulin did not sign for advertising the bid, but he claimed that it was transparent, and as he said, for ‘a hunt’ launched against him and the Ministry, he accused those who “did not get what they are accustomed to getting all these decades, therefore from something good they wanted to provoke something bad and malicious”.
Dragan Popovic from the Center for Practical Politics then, in its analysis, noted that by the cursory glance it can be seen that a large number of organizations for social protection (in this bid) have identical description of their activities, “as if they copied from each other, and it is also noticeable that organizations are barely older than the bid”.