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Potential political connection of the Director of Agency

Transparency Serbia calls on the Board of Agency to examine the information about the possible political connection of the newly elected Director of the Agency and to inform the public about its findings.

Namely, it is necessary to investigate the information that the newly elected director of the Anti-Corruption Agency Dragan Sikimic, at the proposal of one political party, was a member of the body which was taking the presidential elections in the municipality of Zemun in 2017.

The news about membership of Dragan Sikimic in the body which implemented the presidential elections does not support the expectations that the Agency carried out impartially to place control of the financing of presidential campaigns, as well as the control of municipal elections in Belgrade, scheduled for the 4th of March.

We are reminding that in November the Agency published a report that is rightfully not called “control report” but only “expense report” of presidential elections campaign of 2017, since it does not include references to all relevant facts.

According to published data, Sikimic fulfilled all formal legal requirements for this function, since the Law of Anti-Corruption Agency prohibits that the director could be a person who is a member of political party, but does not place other forms of connection with political subjects as an obstacle.
Transparency Serbia considers this as a serious shortcoming of the Law. Due to this, during writing a new law of the Anti-Corruption Agency, we suggested that a member of the Board and Director of the Agency should not be candidates of the political entity in the elections held in the last four years, as well as members of the elections commission or elections board who were appointed on a political subject's proposal during that period.

The reasons why this limitation is indispensable are the same as the reasons why it is considered inappropriate for officials of the Anti-Corruption Agency to be members of political parties – the fact that the Agency decides directly about the interests of political subjects and public officials, many of whom are political. It is obvious that the degree of integration of the candidate on the electoral list or a member of an election commission with a political party may be higher that it is among many party members.

In conjunction with the process of selection of directors, we believe that the Board of the Agency is primarily expected to announce whether the members of this body has known this information when deciding on the elections of directors, and then to ask the new director to provide information under Article 32, paragraph 2 of the Law. Namely, if it is determined that the director is, due to the engagement at the proposal of a political party, in a conflict of interests when deciding on issues relating to the political party or its officials, it would mean that a significant part of the Agency is blocked. Therefore, the Board of the Agency should examine the circumstances before elected director takes office.