18 Mar 15
Montenegro MPs Seek Tighter Checks on Officials’ Riches
On the back of claims that senior politician held an undeclared bank account in the Swiss arms of HSBC, the opposition is demanding stricter checks on politicians’ assets and properties.
Opposition MPs in Montenegro on Monday submitted amendments to the conflict of interest law, aiming to tighten up checks on official’s secret assets.
The proposal comes a week after allegations surfaced that the wife of a senior politician, Svetozar Marovic, at one time held an account in the Swiss arm of HSBC, which he had never declared.
The opposition said the proposed amendments to the Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest would help the police, the tax authorities and prosecutors locate corruptly or secretly acquired assets and property.
The opposition says the tax records of all public officials need to be made public, which is not a case in the current law. Assets that are not reported need to be defined as “illegally acquired”, they say.
The opposition motion, which parliament has yet to debate, also widens the engagement of the National Commission for Conflicts of Interest, which is in charge of the property reports of public officials.
The amended law would oblige the commission to notify the Chief State Prosecutor of all findings of illicit assets of public officials.
“There is a reasonable suspicion that a number of top officials abused their office to acquire enormous property assets in the country and abroad,” the MPs said in their joint explanation submitted to parliament.
The Montenegrin watchdog MANS claimed that Marovic’s wife held the account in HSBC, which at one time contained 3.8 million dollars, and which he never declared.
Chief Prosecutor Ivica Stankovic has since ordered a probe into the allegations against Marovic and his family, saying the prosecution will deal with this case “with maximum responsibility”.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)