Montenegro: Power utility EPCG, investigation over Italian A2A consultancy contracts

, SEE Energy News

The affair regarding consultancy contracts of Elektroprivreda Crne Gore and possible damage to the state that could reach up to EUR 20 million could end at court, since the former director Flavio Bianco has recently been arrested.

Special prosecution initiated investigation of six current and former managers of EPCG for the abuse of official position, i.e. for signing consultancy contracts that have cost EPCG several million EUR.

Except former financial director Flavio Bianco that was arrested on April 15 charges were pressed against former managers Enriko Malerba, Masimo Sali, Slobodan Tanasijević, Venka Janjušević and Vojka Ćalasan.

Non- governmental organization MANS, pointed out several years ago that there is a doubt that consultancy contracts serve as a mechanism to draw out money from EPCG.

Coordinator of the MANS research center, Ines Mrdović, stated that in its audited financial statement for 2012, EPCG showed for the first time that it had certain “associated” affairs with A2A company with the indication that those affairs date back to 2011. Since EPCG had the obligation to show those affairs in the 2011 financial statement, in 2013, MANS representatives asked the prosecutor to investigate those consultancy contracts.

Mrdovic stated that by the end of 2014, the amount of the money drawn out from EPCG was around EUR 19 million.

Institutions powerless

Italian citizens took over management of EPCG at the beginning of March 2010 according to the Management Agreement signed by the Government as the majority shareholder and Italian A2A that had previously purchased 40 percent of shares.

Afterwards, the minority shareholders expressed doubts in illegal business operations through consultancy contracts. The management signed consultancy contracts worth several million euros with companies affiliated to A2A without public procurement procedure as they claimed that Public Procurement Committee informed them that consultancy services do not require public procurement, which the Committee denied.

According to Vasilije Miličković, it is clear that this was a criminal act. He pointed out that there are more than 150 excellent legal advisors in the company so these services were not needed, except for money laundering, for which consultancy and legal services usually serve. Vasilije added that institutions could do nothing since the Prime Minister controls everything and therefore he even pressed several charges against the prime minister. He concluded that he had doubts regarding the final results, transmits