The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption of the Republic of Slovenia

The Commission for the Prevention of Corruption of the Republic of Slovenia (hereinafter CPC) is an independent state body like the human rights Ombudsman, Information Commissioner or the Court of Audit with a mandate in the field of preventing and investigating corruption, breaches of ethics and integrity of public office.  

Although part of the public sector, the CPC is not subordinate to any other state institution or ministry and does not receive direct instructions from the executive or the legislature. While Slovenia has an eight years history of specialised anti-corruption bodies, the current CPC has been established with the adoption of the Integrity and prevention of corruption Act of 2010 (with later amendments) and fulfils the requirement of an independent anti-corruption body as required by the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) which Slovenia ratified.

FIELD OF WORK AND JURISDICTION

The CPC has a wide mandate in the field of preventing and investigating corruption, breaches of ethics and integrity of public office. Its tasks, among others, include:

  • conducting administrative investigations into allegations of corruption, conflict of interest and illegal lobbying;
  • protection of whistleblowers;
  • monitoring the financial status of high level public officials in the executive, legislature and judiciary through the assets declaration system;
  • maintaining the central register of lobbyists;
  • adopting and coordinating the implementation of the National Anti-corruption Action Plan;
  • assisting public institutions in development of integrity plans (methodology to identify and limit corruption risks) and monitoring their implementation;
  • designing and implementing different anti-corruption preventive measures (awareness raising, training, education …);
  • serving as a national focal point for international anti-corruption cooperation on systemic level (GRECO, OECD, UN, EU …).

The CPC is not part of the law enforcement or prosecution system of Slovenia and its employees do not have typical police powers. They do, however, have broad legal powers to access and subpoena financial and other documents (notwithstanding the confidentiality level), question public servants and officials, conduct administrative investigations and proceedings and instruct different law enforcement bodies (e.g. Anti-money laundering Office, Tax Administration …) to gather additional information and evidence within the limits of their authority. The CPC can also issue fines for different violations (sanctions can be appealed to the Court).

INDEPENDENCE

To strengthen its independence, the law provides a special procedure for appointment and dismissal of the leadership of the CPC. Chief Commissioner and two deputies are appointed by the President of the Republic of Slovenia following an open recruitment procedure and nomination by a special selection board. Candidates which must meet high professional and integrity standards are interviewed and screened by a selection board comprising a representative of the Government, the National Assembly, non-governmental organisations, the Independent Judicial Council and the Independent Council of Officials. The Chief Commissioners' term of office is six years, the deputies'  five. They can serve up to two terms in office. Prior to the expiration of the mandate, they can only be dismissed from office by the President (on his/her own motion or on the motion of the Parliament) if they act in breach of the Constitution or the law.

FINANCIAL AND HUMAN RESOURCES

The budget of the CPC is determined yearly by the Parliament and the CPC is autonomous in allocating and organising its financial and human resources and priorities within the budget.
While the legal framework safeguarding the independence of the CPC and the material conditions for its work (facilities, information technology, etc) are generally satisfactorily, the CPC – due to fiscal restraints – remains seriously understaffed – in particular given the broad new mandate under the Act of 2010.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Substantive decisions of the CPC (ruling on corruption, conflict of interest, violations of lobbying regulations etc.) are subject to judicial review of the Administrative Court. Under the Act the CPC must be the subject to periodic external audit the reports of which are submitted to the Parliament and the President and publicly available. The CPC is also required to present yearly reports to the Parliament for elaboration. In addition, by Act,  decisions of the CPC (with few exceptions) must be published on the internet and various provisions require the CPC to publicise its work and its findings.

HISTORY

The predecessor of the CPC was Government''s Office for the Prevention of Corruption established in 2002 on the recommendation of the Council of Europe Organization GRECO (Group of States against Corruption EC). In 2004 the National Assembly of Republic of Slovenia passed The Prevention of the Corruption Act in the Republic of Slovenia (ZPKor). By the adoption of the Prevention of Corruption Act  the Office was replaced with the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption as an independent state body (appointed by and accountable to the Parliament) with a number of corruption-preventive tasks.

On 5th of June 2010, the Integrity and Corruption Prevention Act (ZIntPK) was adopted, while old act ZPKor expired. The Act has retained the name of the CPC, but significantly expanded its mandate, functions and powers. It also strengthened its independence and introduced additional safeguards and objectivity in the procedure for appointment and dismissal of its leadership. Most importantly, it expanded some of the investigative and sanctioning powers of the CPC and made it not only the national focal point for prevention of corruption, but also for lobbying oversight, whistleblower protection, integrity of public sector and expanded its reach beyond the public into the private and business sector. The amendments to the Act adopted in June 2011 further strengthened the powers of the CPC to subpoena financial documents for the public and private sector and to hold accountable magistrates, officials, public servants, management and boards of public enterprises for corruption, conflict of interest or breach of ethics.