Power in Serbia rests on top of a pyramid of huge debt, currently exceeding EUR28 billion, and exploitation of public resources, Zlatko Minic, member of the board of directors of Transparency Serbia, said on April 9.
In an interview he gave to the UGS Nezavisnost allied labor unions website, Minic said the corruption mechanism provided a large number of those upholding the pyramid with favors such as jobs, degrees, business deals or other consideration.
"Maintaining the stability of this pyramid is only possible through corrupt dealings, so the corruption margin in all infrastructure projects and public procurement is undoubtedly high, much higher than 20 or 30 percent, and serves both to keep the bottom of the pyramid happy and to make those on top rich," he said.
Asked whether he had any misgivings about the lack of transparency in the procurement of medical equipment during the pandemic, Minic said anything kept secret created suspicion of corruption. "Instead of arguing with people who are rightly asking questions about the expenses of acquiring medical equipment, the authorities should release all documents. Enormous amounts of money were spent on procuring ventilators, medication, vaccines and other medical necessities, and all these procurements were declared confidential," he said.
He stressed that high corruption was present when there was low risk of discovery and punishment, and where there were opportunities to make a large profit. "These are deals where tax payers' money is used, like infrastructure projects or big procurement, where there is both little transparency and competition. When there is no competition, the door to corruption is open," the TS analyst said.