Montenegro Charges 12 Former Officials with Abuse of Office
The Special State Prosecutor's Office of Montenegro has brought charges against 12 former government officials for abuse of office, according to a report by Balkan Insight.
Special State Prosecutor's Office filed an indictment against the 12 ex-officials who served under former Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, accusing them of violations related to loans granted to public servants for the purchase of real estate.
Vukas Radonic, the spokesperson for the Special State Prosecutor's Office, stated that the suspects, who were members of the government commission at the time, violated internal procedures in the loan agreements with the state officials. "Without a plan and the approval of the State Property Management, the government commission provided loans ranging from €17,500 to €40,000 to improve the living conditions of 119 public servants and administration employees," said Radonic. He added that the actions of the commission members cost the state budget €2.6 million.
Among those accused are former ministers and opposition MPs from the Democratic Party of Socialists, Predrag Boskovic, Dragica Sekulic, and Suzana Pribilovic, as well as MPs from the Social Democrats, Ivan Brajovic and Damir Sehovic. Additionally, former government officials Budimir Segrt, Sanya Vlahovic, Suad Numanovic, Osman Nurkovic, Drazen Milickovic, Jelena Radonjic, and the Secretary-General of Parliament, Aleksandar Jovicevic, have been charged with abuse of office.
According to the indictment, the commission approved 119 loans between 2016 and 2020 that exceeded the legal limit of €15,000. During questioning on June 6, the former officials denied any wrongdoing, claiming that they did not violate any legal procedures. "This is political pressure on opposition parties and officials created by Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic, who is resigning. As members of the commission, we did not engage in any illegal actions," said former commission chairman Predrag Boskovic to journalists.
Abazovic filed a criminal complaint against the former commission members for abuse of office in October of last year. After the charges were filed, he stated that the commission also granted 500 privileged apartments to government officials and called on them to pay for the properties or return them to the state.
In April of this year, the Parliament of Montenegro lifted immunity from five opposition MPs after the Special State Prosecutor's Office initiated investigations into their alleged abuse of office. Since April 2021, a list of 175 state officials and 405 civil servants who received assistance from the government to resolve their housing issues has been made public. It is noted that over the past decade, over €25 million has been spent on such loans to public servants. The recipients of these loans include former government members, MPs, parliamentary staff, judges, and prosecutors. Oversight organizations have criticized the government commission's decisions as corrupt and non-transparent.
As previously reported by The Gaze, parliamentary elections were held in Montenegro on June 11, resulting in a victory for the pro-European movement "Europe Now."