BANJA LUKA, November 20 (FENA) – Transparency International in Bosnia and Herzegovina (TIBiH) has won an administrative dispute against the FBiH Banking Agency (FBA), which refused to provide information on the salaries of its employees.
Namely, more than three years ago, TIBiH requested from the Agency a list of all employed persons with the amounts of their salaries and related benefits.
“The media wrote at the time that the FBiH Banking Agency was the most desirable place to employ relatives of politicians, that the average salary of employees in 2016 was 3,170 KM, and that the highest salary was slightly less than 9,000 KM,” TIBiH said in a statement for the public.
For comparison, in the same year, the average net salary in FBiH was 838 KM.
The TIBiH reminds that the auditors then warned that “salaries in the Agency are inappropriately high in relation to other FBiH institutions, that employment is done without open vacancies and that unjustifiably high incentives are given to workers”.
“The Banking Agency of FBiH refused to provide information on the salaries of its employees to citizens and the media, emphasizing that they do not represent the public interest and that it is a blow to the independence of the Agency. In response to the complaint of TI BiH, the Agency pointed out that it is a self-financing and non-profit institution, and that they are not financed from public funds. In addition to calling for the protection of personal data, they pointed out that their employees are not civil servants, that there is no public interest in knowing their names or the amounts of their income, and that they are not obliged to apply the Freedom of Access to Information Act.
However, as further stated, the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo concluded in the judgment that the Banking Agency is a public body within the meaning of the Law on Freedom of Access to Information, and reminded that all information held by public bodies is a public good and that if access is denied a public interest test must be conducted and any harm or benefit arising from the disclosure of the information must be weighed.
“In the specific case, the Court considers that the Agency did not give any reason why information on salaries should not be published, which did not prove the absence of public interest. It is not enough just to state that an exception applies to the protection of personal data, but all circumstances must be weighed and the reasons for applying the exception must be given. For all these reasons, the court will decide again upon this matter,” it is stated.
All this justifies the public interest in greater transparency of the banking regulator, so TIBiH calls on the FBiH Banking Agency to publish information on employees, their salaries and related benefits, and to make a step towards proactive transparency by publishing all information on its website.