Commission for the Prevention of Corruption
The Act of 29 October 2020 on Amendments to the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act (Zakon o spremembah in dopolnitvah Zakona o integriteti in preprečevanju korupcije) provides for a clear separation of powers of the KPK, police and Prosecutor’s Office in criminal prosecution matters. Before the amendments were introduced, the KPK had had to file an immediate request to initiate criminal proceedings to the competent bodies on the grounds of alleged commission of a corruption crime. That situation created legal uncertainty: specific crimes classified as corruption ones under the Integrity and Prevention of Corruption Act (Zakon o integriteti in preprečevanju korupcije, hereinafter referred to as the Act) were not considered as such in accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure. From now on, the only thing the Commission can do is to prepare conclusions on specific cases and to transfer relevant materials to the competent authorities if there are suspicions of crimes. At the same time, law enforcement authorities decide autonomously whether to initiate criminal proceedings or not. Simultaneously, the Commission is obliged to publish information about offenders on its website after competent bodies have taken a final decision on the existence of a breach.
Besides that, the Act changes the procedure for the appointment of the Chief Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners of the KPK. Previously, candidates were appointed directly by the selection panel; now the appointment consists of two stages: the preliminary selection of candidates is carried out by a special nomination commission, while the final decision on the appointment is taken by the President. Besides officials, the nomination commission includes representatives of NGOs operating in the field of human rights, integrity, ethics, lobbying regulation or corruption prevention. This procedure for selecting the management of the Commission seems to reduce the risk of its political dependence and build up public trust in the anti-corruption authority.
Anti-corruption bans, restrictions and responsibilities
The Act extends the list of individuals subject to the bans, restrictions and responsibilities provided for by the anti-corruption legislation by including in it:
- the Secretary-General of the President and his/her deputy, advisers to the President and the head of the Presidential Executive Office,
- the secretaries-general of the Government and National Assembly and the secretary of the National Assembly,
- the members of the board of the Bank of Slovenia.
In addition, the Act also modifies the norms regulating the receiving of gifts. For instance, the restrictions on accepting gifts are now imposed not only on the individuals holding public positions, as all other bans, restrictions and responsibilities, but also on any other officials and members of their families. The list of individuals considered as “family members” is also extended: now it includes the individuals who live in the same household with the official, even if in the conventional sense they are not his/her family members. Besides that, the Act raises the threshold of value of gifts (accepted in the course of cultural or protocol events, upon graduation or on the occasion of holidays, as well as in the framework of diplomatic activities) from €75 to €100, whilst the value of gifts to be inserted in a special registry is increased from €25 to €50.
Also, the amendments introduced by the Act modify the procedure for asset disclosure: before that, officials were obliged to submit annual declarations to the Commission; now this information is to be filed only in the event of substantial changes (if their amount exceeds €10,000). An open access to relevant information will be provided on the website of the Commission during an official’s term of office.
Registers and databases
The legal act stipulates that in spite of the fact that there is no need for individuals lobbying interests of their employing entities to enter the registry of lobbyists, such entities must inform the Commission about the individuals lobbying their interests (except for non-commercial entities with no regular staff members).
Finally, the Act establishes legal grounds for the ERAR digital database to function. It provides open access to different information about the use of budgetary resources. In particular, the ERAR contains the registers of gifts and lobbyists, information about public funding of entities and expenditures of public bodies, data on entities affiliated with officials, etc. Information on entities is received by the ERAR from various sources, including the registers of enterprises and property of joint stock companies, information of the Public Payments Administration on transactions and electronic invoices, data of the Office for the Prevention of Money Laundering regarding large transactions abroad and of the public procurement portal, etc.