Former government officials of Montenegro are accused of abuse of office
The Special State Prosecution of Montenegro prosecuted 12 former government officials for abuse of power on the grounds that they cost the public budget around 2.6 million EUR by lending money to other officials to purchase real estate.
On July 4, 2023, the Special State Prosecution of Montenegro issued an indictment accusing 12 former members of the administration of former Prime Minister Dusko Markovic of breaches relating to loans given to state officials to purchase real estate.
According to Vukas Radonjic, a spokesman for the Special State Prosecution, the suspects, who at the time were part of a government commission, broke internal rules on loan repayment agreements with state officials.
“Without a plan and the approval of State Property Management, the government commission granted housing loans to improve living conditions for 119 public officials and administration employees, in the amount of between 17,500 and 40,000 EUR [each],” Radonjic told media. He also stated that it cost the state budget 2.6 million EUR.
Those accused include former cabinet members Predrag Boskovic, Dragica Sekulic, and Suzana Pribilovic of the Democratic Party of Socialists, as well as Ivan Brajovic and Damir Sehovic of the Social Democratic Party. Some other former government officials, Budimir Segrt, Sanja Vlahovic, Suad Numanovic, Osman Nurkovic, Drazen Milickovic, Jelena Radonjic and parliamentary general secretary Aleksandar Jovicevic, were also charged with abuse of office. However, during the questioning of all the former officials on July 6, they denied any violation of legal procedures.
“This is political pressure on opposition parties and officials, created by outgoing Prime Minister Dritan Abazovic. As members of the commission, we didn’t commit any illegal act,” the former head of the commission, Predrag Boskovic, said.
In October of last year, Abazovic complained to the police about the misuse of power by the previous commission. On top of the charges, he claimed that the commission had also given 500 flats to privileged state officials. He challenged them to pay the property’s mortgage or return it to the state.
The Special State Prosecution started an inquiry into the five opposition MPs’ alleged abuse of office in April of this year, and the Montenegrin parliament subsequently withdrew their immunity. A list of the 175 state officials and 405 government employees who received assistance from the government to find accommodation has been made public by the government since April 2021.
According to government data, more than 25 million EUR were spent in the last decade on such loans to state officials.