Today at the border crossing Tabanovce, Vice President in charge of fight against corruption and crime, sustainable development and human resources, Ljupco Nikolovski held a working meeting with Goran Sugareski, Director General of the Customs Administration and Ms. Virginia Abajo-Marquez, Head of UNDOC Project Office & Regional Anti-corruption and Asset Recovery Advisor for the Western Balkans in Belgrade.

They discussed the role of the Customs Administration in preventing and detecting corruption and organized crime, and the measures of the adopted Anti-Corruption Plan.

Vice Prime Minister Nikolovski pointed out that all anti-corruption institutions are getting actively involved in the fight against corruption and organized crime, each within its competence. He emphasized that the inter-institutional coordination and information exchange is of particular importance, which has been in the spotlight in the past period.

Customs Director General Sugareski emphasized that one of the main priorities of Customs is to improve the institutional and administrative capacity for efficient and effective fight against corruption. Sugareski pointed out that as a result of the campaign "STOP CORRUPTION" which is implemented since April 2018, the number of received reports on corruptive activities has increased in 2020 compared to 2017, 2018 and 2019. He also stressed that the Customs Administration constantly cooperates with other institutions and works to strengthen the inter-institutional cooperation in the fight against corruption and crime. Successful cooperation has been established with the National Border Management Coordination Center, the State Commission on Anti-Corruption, the Ministry of Interior, the Food and Veterinary Agency, the Sanitary Inspectorate, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other. Furthermore, in order to better deal with corruption, the Customs Administration has adopted an Integrity and Anti-Corruption Strategy for the period 2019-2022 and an implementation action plan, and in one year 37% of the planned activities have been fully implemented, while 26% are partially realized and 11% are being realized.

Vice Prime Minister Nikolovski presented some of the measures from the Anti-Corruption Plan, explaining the need for digitalization and strengthening of the investigation centers, digitization of registers, connecting anti-corruption institutions through the platform for Interoperability, introduction of state registration for issuing licenses and permits, electronic connection of the inspectorates, amendment of the Law on Prevention of Corruption and Conflict of Interest, introduction of a register for official vehicles. In order to raise the awareness of the citizens and the administration for recognition and prevention of corruption, Vice Prime Minister Nikolovski clarified that the Plan stipulates appointment of an authorized person in each institution that will receive information submitted for protected internal reporting of possible corruption. Each institution is to adopt an annual Anti-Corruption Program. Additionally, a System for monitoring cases and complaints will be introduced by opening a call center, through which citizens and companies will be able to report cases of corruption, untimely or inappropriate action by the competent institutions regarding their submitted requests.

Head of UNDOC Project Office & Regional Anti-corruption and Asset Recovery Advisor for the Western Balkans, Ms. Abajo-Marquez, said that the Customs Administration is an important institution for detecting corruption, particularly in trade, and positively assessed the measures of the Anti-Corruption Plan, as well as the enthusiasm and commitment of the Government to introduce systemic changes and measures.

 

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