SARAJEVO, January 13 (FENA) – The draft law on conflict of interest in the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, adopted by the House of Representatives of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly, represents a step forward compared to the existing legal solution, as it prescribes clearer bans on multiple functions as well as making profit and financial interest from private companies that do business with the state.
According to Transparency International, if the new law is confirmed in the same text by the House of Peoples of BiH Parliamentary Assembly, many elected officials from the state level will have to give up double functions, and the same standards should be established by lower levels of government.
Data recently published by Transparency International in BiH show that as many as 61 officials at the level of BiH, entities and cantons perform more than one function.
From the beginning, TI BIH participated in drafting of that legal solution and initiated its adoption, and although it has undergone certain changes in the parliamentary procedure, it still meets the basic international standards and conditions set before BiH by the European Commission.
“This version of the law represents a huge improvement over the recent version proposed by the BiH Ministry of Justice, which allows officials to be owners or directors of private companies that receive tenders or to head budget-funded associations if money and tenders come from lower levels of government,” announced TIBiH.
They also point out that a huge improvement is in the article of the law that prohibits officials from using public functions or public resources for political promotion.
TIBiH stated that during monitoring of the election campaign, they recorded more than 2,500 cases of abuse of public resources and functions for the promotion of political parties and candidates, and the adoption of such a law would be a huge progress in enabling fair elections.
One of the most significant improvements is the introduction of control over the property records of public office holders, which has not existed so far.
“It is important to point out that an independent commission should implement this law, instead of the previous commission comprised of elected parliamentarians who decided on their own responsibility and conflict of interest of their party colleagues,” wrote TIBiH in a statement.
Improving the law on conflict of interest is one of the 14 key priorities set by the European Union before BiH, but resolving this issue has been blocked for years because, as stated by TI BiH, many decision makers are in conflict of interest.
Therefore, TI BiH appealed to the House of Peoples of BiH to also adopt the law and thus show readiness to improve anti-corruption laws, and said that the key will be the support of HDZ and SNSD delegates, who did not support this law in the House of Representatives.