Siniša Mali violated the Law on Anti-corruption agency three times, and was pronounced the measure of reprimand in all three cases, are the findings of the investigative story published by prEUgovor coalition member Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS) on 13th November 2017.
In the article by Andjela Milivojevic it si written that in 2017 the Anti-corruption Agency initiated extraordinary control of property and income of 14 officials, including Siniša Mali, the Mayor of Belgrade. The control is still underway.
In past, Siniša Mali made a series of omissions in the course of property reporting, but he was only issued the most lenient punishment by the Agency - the measure of reprimand, which is practically a written warning.
Mali was pronounced the measure of reprimand for having failed to report that he had transferred managerial rights in the company of his own; for having delayed to file of the report on property and income after he had been appointed as a member of the Managing board of the Clinical Centre of Serbia; and for having filed incorrect and incomplete data on property.
The Agency’s reply to the Center for investigative journalism of Serbia (CINS) journalist states that there is no legal possibility for an official who was once pronounced the measure of reprimand “to be pronounced a more severe measure within the second procedure for determination of whether the Law on Agency was violated, that is, the measure of publishing the recommendation for relieving of the official from duty or the measure of publishing the decision on infringement.”
Sources from the Agency add that this is why the Draft of the new Law on the Agency stipulates that in such cases it is possible to pronounce a more severe punishment, such as the recommendation for relieving of officials from duty. Adoption of the new law is by more than three years late.
"The fact that the Anti-corruption Agency pronounced as many as three measures of reprimand to the same official truly sounds illogical, as each of these measures is a request for him not to violate law in future”, says Nemanja Nenadić, programme director of the organization Transparency Serbia.
Nenadić leaves the opportunity that in this case it is possible to believe that Mali’s omissions are accidental or a result of negligence, but also says that the Agency was to justify pronouncing the same measure three times.
Even though Mali had already been reprimanded twice, when pronouncing the third measure of reprimand, the Agency concluded that he had no intention of concealing his property.
Because of suspected deliberate failure to report income and assets or providing of false data, in the course of 2010 the Agency filed 63 criminal charges against official throughout Serbia. This was not done in the case of Mali. The criminal offence of “failure to report assets or submission of false data on assets” is subject to prescribed sentence of six months to five years of imprisonment.
However, in 2015 the Agency did file charges against Miljana Golubović, teacher of philosophy and sociology. She failed to report decreased income in a timely manner upon termination of her function of Bor Municipal council member, for which she had been receiving 12,000 dinars a month.
Unlike Mali who was three times only issued the measure of reprimand, which was not published anywhere, Golubović paid the fine of 40,000 dinars, which was almost the total of her monthly salary.
In the course of 2015, having performed control of data on Mali’s property in Serbia and abroad, the Agency filed the report to the Tax administration. The Agency files reports of this type when suspecting violations of law which surpass its competence.
When asked by CINS how far this case has gone, the Tax administration refused to answer, because, as they stated in an official letter, data on “taxpayers obtained in tax, misdemeanor, pre-investigative, or investigative proceedings are deemed and kept as classified.”
In 2016, the Agency filed a report on Siniša Mali to The Higher prosecutor’s office in Belgrade for suspected money laundering. The prosecutor’s office concluded that there were no elements of criminal offences from their competence, but that there were elements of criminal offence of failure to report assets and income according to the Law on Agency. This is why the case was transferred to the First Basic public prosecutor’s office.
The story was produced within project "prEUgovor Policy Watch: Monitoring Reforms in Chapters 23 and 24" supported by the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the author and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.