BiH Parliament must finally discuss the Law on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest

The BiH Parliament must finally discuss the Law on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest of BiH and show that it is truly committed to the continuation of EU integration. This was the conclusion from the Round Table organized by the portal “Javna rasprava” and Transparency International BiH, held on 18 July in Sarajevo.

This law was sent to the parliamentary procedure in the end of October 2017 by representatives of  8 political parties, but Parliament has still not been willing to discuss it. According to the research conducted by the javnarasprava.ba portal, this law is supported by more than 90% of users of their platform.

Also, the new Proposal of the Law on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest was also characterized as one of the few positive things in the last report of GRECO, stating that this law addresses most of the deficiencies identified in the previous application as well as GRECO’s reports and recommendations. It is particularly important to emphasize that the European Commission in its latest report stressed that it is very important for Bosnia and Herzegovina to adopt a legal framework for the prevention of conflicts of interest.

The basic improvement offered by the new law in relation to the existing legal solution is reflected in the establishment of an independent body, the Commission for the implementation of the Act, whose members are selected through a public call. There are also restrictions in terms of prior exercise of public functions and membership in political parties. Bearing in mind that according to the currently valid legal solution we have a Commission composed of a majority of MPs and delegates of the PSBiH, who can not be objective and independent and which themselves and their party colleagues determine a conflict of interest, it is clear that the Commission envisaged by the new draft constitutes the basis for greater objectivity and independence in application of this law.

Furthermore, the Plan details and partially extends the circle of persons to which the Act applies, and the limitations in terms of performing multiple functions, ways of performing functions and making decisions are more clearly prescribed.

It is particularly important that the new solution combines asset card regulations and conflicts of interest, as well as the procedure for controlling and disclosing asset cards, given that the process of verification of information in the asset cards does not exist at the moment and that we currently have scattered and incompatible regulations – the card is submitted by the elected officials to the CEC, and the financial reports are submitted by the elected and appointed and advisors to the Commission for deciding on conflicts of interest. According to the new solution, everyone will have the same obligations, they will not duplicate, and the accuracy control, the register of function holders and the register of asset cards will be public.

Finally, it is also important to note the sanctions, which have been partially extended by the new Act, and the introduction of  a mechanism for annulment of acts resulting from conflicts of interest, which is very important in order to prevent further damage to institutions and the budget.

Due to all of the above, there is no justification for the fact that this law is almost 10 months in the parliamentary procedure and that no chamber of the Parliament discussed this law.

Javnarasprava.ba & Transparency International BiH

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