Anti-Corruption Council member: Telekom Srbija's operations are not transparent

Anti-Corruption Council member: Telekom Srbija's operations are not transparent

Anti-Corruption Council member: Telekom Srbija's operations are not transparent Izvor: N1

Jelisaveta Vasilic, a member of the Anti-Corruption Council, told N1 that the way in which Serbian national telecom operator, Telekom Srbija, conducts its business is non-transparent, and that "we know nothing about that business." Hiding something from the state, which is the owner and which obviously does not control company, from the shareholders – the Serbian people, is not allowed, and public property must be transparent, she warned.

According to her, it is very important to know the data State Audit Institution (DRI), because "we learned a lot about Telekom Srbija from that report, its business and non-application of the law."

"I've seen Mr Lucic say that in two years the price of the Telekom would be €4 billion, his statement reminded me of Aleksandar Vucic's 2015 statement, when the tender for the sale of Telekom failed, saying that the state would give up the sale, but that in four years, Telekom will be a company of exceptional value, and then there will be ways to get more money than was offered during that sale, but we never heard the prices that were offered then or what was expected by the state," Vasilic said.

She claims Telekom's business operations are non-transparent.

“We know nothing about their business. Telekom applies no laws and no laws apply for their business operations,” she noted.

N1's guest explained that decisions on the acquisitions in state-owned companies are made by the Supervisory Board

“However, that's not a legally valid decision, and only after the government gives its consent does it become valid, and the company can work accordingly. The procedure goes like this - when a state-owned company decides to make acquisitions, like the purchase of a state-owned company, it must obtain the consent of the government. In order to achieve that, several ministries need to inspect why the acquisition is taking place, the purposefulness of the state capital, how that acquisition will affect the state capital and these ministries are the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Economy and the Public Sector Economy Committee. These are the three state bodies that should give their opinion prior to the acquisition, and only when they agree, should there be a proposal to the government to give its consent," she told N1.

In this case, she stated, only the Supervisory Board made a decision and received no consent from the government.

"The whole procedure shows that the government is not interested in the public property because if it was interested, it would surely know that an acquisition is being prepared and that it's so big, it's the biggest acquisition so far," Vasilic said.

Telekom's problem is that the company claims it is not public property and that these rules do not apply to them, she told N1.

“Which is absolutely not true, because the law stipulates what public property is – it's when a company has a property which is of general interest, when it performs activities of general interest and when it has state capital. Telekom Srbija is a completely publicly owned company, 78 percent of the share capital is state capital. According to our Constitution, you have three forms of ownership - public, private and cooperative, there is no other ownership. Telekom operates in public ownership and is obliged to apply the laws regulating public ownership," says emphasized.

She also noted that the authorities said the “acquisition is very sensitive and that its content is very significant.”

“Hiding something from the state, which is the owner and which obviously doesn't control the Telekom, hiding from the shareholders – who are you and me and all of us, is not allowed, the public property must be transparent," she stressed.

According to her, the state has no record of state-owned companies.

"How many are there - we don't know which companies they are - we don't know what capital those companies have - we don't know. This is a text-book example of an extremely bad attitude of the state towards the public property," she pointed out.

Speaking about her op-ed published in Danas daily, she said she wanted it to be an opinion of the Council.

"Three members agreed to it, and the two members who were brought in by the government to interfere with the work of the Council did not," she said.

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