The Council of Europe's (CoE) Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) said in a report released on Tuesday that Serbia should introduce a number of measures to prevent corruption among the country’s top executives.
“A public strategy on corruption prevention covering explicitly persons in top executive posts (PTEF) should be developed, with clear goals and an assessment of their achievement. In order to prevent risks of conflicts of interest in government, integrity checks should be carried out as part of appointment procedures,” the report said adding that more transparency is needed on contacts between PTEFs and lobbyists, with a broader definition of lobbying and regular reports on contacts.
It said that Serbian should adopt rules including integrity checks for top executive posts prior to appointment to identify conflicts of interests and that lws being introduced by the government should undergo public consultations.
Regular controls should be launched to check asset and income declarations of persons in top executive posts and the competencies of the Prosecutor for Organized Crime should be expanded to cover all top executive posts. Strategic documents should be introduced to prevent corruption in the government and president’s administration. The role of the Anti-Corrution Agency should be reinforced by making its recommendations and the response of the executive authorities public and the Law on Prevention of Corruption should be expanded to cover all top executive posts.
The report said that rejections of requests for information from the Government and Presidential administration should be open to appeal with the Commissioner for Information of public Importance and Personal Data Protection and the immunity provided to Government members ought to exclude corruption-related offences.
It said that a strategy on preventing corruption in the police needs to be introduced to set out clear goals and identify risks. “Measures should also be taken for a more open and transparent procedure for the appointment of the Chief of Police and other senior management posts. The existing Code of Police Ethics needs revamping in order to cover all relevant integrity topics and be accompanied by practical examples. Training for new recruits and serving police officers should be based on this revised code and be compulsory for all. Further measures should also be taken all along the career of police officers to ensure that regular vetting takes place, and that rotation is organized in risk-prone areas,” the report said.
The report recalled Serbia has been a member of GRECO since 2003 and has undergone four evaluation rounds focusing on different topics related to the prevention and fight against corruption.