Softić: Proceeding as a retaliation

Source/Photo: Agencija Anadolija

PODGORICA, 06.12.2017 – Agency for Prevention of Corruption (APC) initiated proceedings against journalist and member of the Managing Board of the Association of Professional Independent Journalists (DPNCG) Tufik Softić, who is also an Acting Director of the local Radio Berane. APC has, as announced by DPNCG, filed a misdemeanor charges against Softić.

Softić said for TVCG that it was known two years ago that he is a public official and that he was appointed for Acting Director of Radio Berane. Hence, he had an interpretation that as an acting director he was not in conflict of interest, and that he is not considered as a public official.

“Now it is completely absurd that after two years some allegedly anonymous complaint has appeared based on which APC initiated proceeding. But what can you do. I can simply accept it or see it as retaliation for my lawsuit against the state but I am not running away from anything. I have corrected irregularities on time, all that I was requested to do. I came to hearing, when I was warned, in the meantime I was warned of irregularities, but they decided still to take measures”, said Softić.

Softić has been Acting Director of Radio Berane for two years and the Agency initiated the procedure based on anonymous notification received just several days before the Basic Court in Podgorica issued a decision stating that the state did not provide effective protection for Softić, during the attack in 2007.

According to the press release APC believes that Softić has been in conflict of interest because his wife is a member of Socialist People’s Party (SNP) in the local parliament. It is also disputable that he did not report the property as a public official.

“In his statement to APC he said that according to the legal interpretation he, as an acting director, is not considered as a public official and that was the reason why he did not submit the report. However, after being warned that he violated regulations, he acted upon the Agency’s interpretation and reported his property”, points out the press release.

Also, his wife resigned from the local parliament. According to Law on Election of Councilors and MPs, it shall enter into force on the day of filing.

According to the press release, the previous practice was to treat corrected irregularities as legal action, however the APC has already filed misdemeanor charges against Softić.

“We consider this as a revenge of the state because of the lawsuit which Softić filed due to failure of the police and the prosecution to solve the case from 2007 when someone attempted to kill him.

Instead of punishing the perpetrators and effectively and urgently investigating the second attack the state, through the Agency and anonymous reports, whose number is increasing rapidly, the state has turned to retaliation of journalists and NGO activists” states DPNCG press release.