First Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade confirmed that there are no basis for initiating criminal proceedings for misuse in implementing the bid of the Ministry of Labor for social services in 2014, announced the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM) on January 17th 2017. The bid was advertised in 2014, but it was canceled because numerous civil society organizations indicated to the misuse and the money, instead for social services, was directed to the Children’s Rare Disease Fund.
YUCOM stated that First Basic Public Prosecutor’s Office “after more than two years of collecting material hasn’t found basis to proceed in case against unknown persons involved in implementing bids of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy, that attempted illegal awarding over two million euros intended for social services”.
It is added within the statement that the prosecution have had more than two years to comply with the criminal complaint filed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM, Civic Initiatives, Policy Center and the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability – CRTA.
It is added that these organizations haven’t been asked even once to provide information on the allegations of misuses during the bid, “thus it stays unclear what information the prosecution 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.
YUCOM noted that 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”.
As it is added the money was even awarded “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”.
The statement also notes that they stayed without an answer to 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”.
YUCOM also stated that, in order to the public gain insights into what it had been done, it has been filed a request for access to information of public importance which seek from competent prosecutor’s office information on the procedure in this case as well as on all acts of collecting information that were undertaken.
“In the end, we invite the competent prosecutor’s office to reconsider its decision and to provide information on the procedure so that citizens can have access to the legality and transparency of budgetary funds consumption,” stands in the statement.