Monday, December 30, 2013

Bad privatisation destroyed Serbian industry

12/29/2013 3:12:00 PM

  BELGRADE - The launched proceedings in 24 cases of controversial privatisations in Serbia are the right way to put right the injustice done by the Law on Privatisation adopted in 2001, but the efforts in this matter should not end there, professor Ljubodrag Savic of the Belgrade Faculty of Economics stated.

  The implementation of the law inflicted severe damage on both the economy and citizens of Serbia as Serbia's industry was practically destroyed, a part of the citizens grew poor and many of them lost their jobs, Savic told Tanjug on Saturday, following the publication of results of investigation in 24 cases of controversial privatisations, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Security Service Coordination Bureau Aleksandar Vucic told a news conference on Saturday that the Bureau has done its share of work and that it is now up to prosecutors and judges to do their duty and conduct prosecution in the company privatisation cases. Savic underscored that the damages caused by 24 privatisations are probably several times higher than the sum of around EUR 80 million established in the investigation and that if the figure remains at that, it would mean that abuse is very hard to prove. 

 “It seems that some of key actors involved in the privatisation process have disappeared after becoming very rich because they negotiated, agreed on and directed the process,” he said. Savic underscored that he is aware of the fact that a lot of time has passed since most of the controversial privatisations and that is very hard to prove abuse, but ha noted that it is positive that considerable progress has been made in some of the procedures on the cases. “The message is that the government must not stop there and has to invest greater energy in tackling the evil of corruption. It will be an important piece of news if some individuals are sentenced but we will not make substantial progress unless more people are covered in the proceedings,” he said. Around 1.1 million people were employed in the industry sector in 1990, in 2000 this number totalled 750,000 and today it adds up to as few as 275,000, and this is the result of some other factors, primarily the detrimental implementation of the Law on Privatisation, Savic said. Privatisation investigations to help strengthen institutions 

 The prosecution of cases of 24 controversial privatisations should be carried out to the end so that the anti-corruption investigations would help strengthen institutions which would be responsible to citizens and not to corrupted elite as was the case so far, former member of the Anti-Corruption Council Danilo Sukovic stated. In a statement for Tanjug, Sukovic noted on Saturday that in this context, it is less important whether an individual case would be solved and added that the Council did not tackle individual cases either. Still, the important matter is to invest the necessary efforts to show the reasons for the existence of corruption, flaws in the system and the ways to reinforce institutions, Sukovic noted. 

 “This cannot be achieved until some big fish are caught in the net,” he said and added that the government needs to show its powers when it comes to politicians as well. Corrupted members of the elite, politicians and tycoons alike, are responding with great resistance and it is a big question what the outcome would be in the re-examination of company privatisations performed mainly in the previous decade. Sukovic also believes that creation of conditions for free work of the media is highly important. Photo (illustration)

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