There is more and more corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the results of the corruption perception index. From Transparency International, they say that our country belongs to the group of countries with the fastest worsening of the representation of corruption, and with the persistence of the worst form of political corruption. On the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day and with the aim of raising awareness of the negative consequences of corruption, we investigated the situation in our country in more detail.
Systemic corruption is a key problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina and it affects both political and economic processes, according to Transparency International. They add that citizens mostly report corruption in employment processes in public administration.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina has not had a strategy for the fight against corruption for a long period of time, which speaks for itself as to how much the fight against corruption is prioritized. So, if the citizens and here is the European Commission’s report recognizes corruption as one of the fundamental problems of this country, while Bosnia and Herzegovina does not nor a strategy to fight corruption, it is quite clear that there is no real intention or political will to fight corruption”, says Srdan Blagovcanin from Transparency International.
BIRN reports that there is a great distrust of citizens in the judicial institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and one of the reasons is the weak prosecution of corruption.
“Corruption should always be reported. However, the problem is where corruption or any other criminal offense is reported. We published research that unfortunately shows that police officers are also the ones who commit domestic violence, then you have us, the media and non-governmental organizations, who encourage citizens, let’s report violence, how can people report violence to the same people who commit it. And the same is true with corruption”, says Dzana Brkanic from BIRN.
In the period from 2014 to 2020, more than 260 thousand people left Bosnia and Herzegovina, largely due to corruption, according to the Institute for Youth Development.
“Over 90 percent of young people believe that bribery in order to get a job in public administration is a practice, 60 percent of them believe that it is a frequent practice. Young people know what corruption is, but they do not have the encouragement to report it”, says Nevio Bruck, Institute for Youth Development “KULT”.
According to the data of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, in 2022, 205 indictments were filed against corruption, of which 17 are high level corruption.
Of the 3,435 public procurement procedures with a total value of more than 590 million BAM, which were monitored by the “Pratimo tenders” portal, in almost 80 percent of the procedures there is a risk of corruption and other abuses. These are the data from the Monitoring Report of the Center for Media Development and Analysis and the “We Monitor Tenders” portal. Compared to previous years, there are certain developments, but the key problem is still the non-processing of cases of high corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina. to the courts.
In almost 70 percent of public procurement procedures in Bosnia and Herzegovina, only one bidder appears, and the risk of corruption and other abuses is evident in all types of public procurement procedures, among which direct agreements are the most risky. Based on the monitoring of the portal “Pratimo tenders”, in the past year, public companies are leading in terms of irregularities.
“These are public companies related to the electric power sector, large utility companies, but we also have this one, which is the most specific, we have procurements by state institutions, institutions at the level of BiH that procured, which again is specific, from luxury cars to some food products, such as seafood fruits and the like,” points out Slobodan Golubović, editor of the “Pratimo tenders” portal.
Unlike previous years, when there were still public companies that did not have any risky public procurement procedures, this year the green flags for such companies will remain unallocated. The Center for Media Development and Analysis claims that BiH. public companies and state institutions do not hesitate even because of the daily pointing out to the public of harmful public procurement procedures.
“The fact that public procurement has become more transparent, the more it is announced what will be the subject of public procurement and how it will be implemented, has not reduced the riskiness of conducting the process and procedure of public procurement, that is what is actually worrying and to simplify, they openly stealing,” says Eldin Karić, executive director of the Center for Media Development and Analysis.
The monitoring showed that certain developments were made after the adoption of the Law and the amendments to the Law on Public Procurement of BiH, which entered into force on December 10 last year. The adoption of the changes led to a slight decrease in the total number of risky purchases compared to the previous year. However, there are still gaps.
“Defining the qualification conditions and technical specifications in the tender documentation, we have abuses in the appeals procedure, and what is most alarming is that in most of these public procurement procedures there is only one offer, there is no competition or it is suppressed,” says Golubović.
In the latest report of the European Commission on the progress of BiH, it was stated that public procurement is still subject to irregularities and sensitive to corruption. The European Commission is very concerned about the selective and non-transparent conduct of court proceedings in cases of corruption in public procurement. However, laws in BiH should be changed for such procedures, and there is no political will for that step.