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The work of Anti-Corruption Agency could be blocked

Programme Director of Transparency Serbia Nemanja Nenadic said for Insajder that it is trued that the Board of Anti-Corruption Agency could not disqualify Dragan Sikimic as a candidate for the Director of Agency, but that in practise it is easy to imagine numerous situations and decisions on many issues in which the work of the Agency could be blocked due to his connections with the party.

Namely, regarding numerous questions related to the connections of new Director Dragan Sikimic and SPP, the Board of the Anti-Corruption Agency responded that these facts were not known to it, or even if they did, they would not make any impact as the Law stipulates that the candidate for Director could not be a member of the party, which was established by the declaration of new director.

Nenadic in the announcement of the Board of Anti-Corruption Agency, as essential moments, notes that the Board did not know the connection of the candidate with SPP,  and he also said that he did not perceive problems and situations that may therefore arise and block the work of the Agency.

According to him, such situations are not hypothetical, but real. He states that due to the connection Sikimic had to, in accordance with Article 32 of the Agency in all cases when deciding on SPP, seek the opinion of the Board. In this regard, Nenadic reminded that the Agency may examine the financing of the elections five years ago and that the director is the one who initiated the proceedings in the case of specified offences.

In some situations, according to him, the work of the Agency could be blocked, or it should be decided by the deputy director who, as Nenadic reminds, is not selected.

When asked who should raise the question of whether there is a need to decide on the conflict of interest of directors in any case, Nenadic cites Articles 32 and states that the issue should be registered by Sikimic himself to explain to the Board of Agency the nature of his relations with SPP and leave the decision if he could decide in a particular case. Therefore, says Nenadic, it could be good that the Board of the Agency decides as soon as possible – if there is a conflict of interests, the Board would have to determine and to question how Sikimic will carry a large part of his duties.

Nenadic reminded that the Anti-Corruption Agency earlier initiated proceedings against the SPP for suspicious donations that funded the party's campaign in 2014 and worked for verification donor for presidential campaign of Aleksandar Vucic.

He reminded that the current situation points to  deficiencies of the Anti-Corruption Law, which prohibits the director is a member of a political party, but does not place other forms of connections with political parties as an obstacle.