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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The notorious MP of Gibanje Svoboda party, who was previously employed at RTVS, found herself in a conflict of interests – she was the first to sign the new law on RTV

By: L. K. F., Siol.net

In these days when there is a lot of talk about the adoption of amendments and additions to the law on RTV Slovenia, it is important to point out that Gibanje Svoboda MP Mojca Šetinc Pašek is one of the proponents and the first signatory to the proposal for a new law on RTV Slovenia, which will be considered under an urgent procedure. As reported by the Siol.net portal, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (CPC) has already explained and warned when the decision-making of ministers and members of parliament involves a conflict of interests and thus preventing the emergence of the latter. Whether it is a conflict of interest in the specific case of Šetinc Pašek was checked by the CPC at Siol.

Mojca Šetinc Pašek (GS) is not only one of the proponents of the law on RTV Slovenia, with which the representatives of Svoboda, Levica, and SD parties want to remove the top of RTVS. She is the first signatory and thus also the official proposer of the new law on RTVS, she is the one who explains the changes in the Parliament and to the public. Before Šetinc Pašek ran on Golob’s list and was elected as a member of parliament, she was employed at the national TV, where, according to the management of the institute, the job is still waiting for her after the end of her parliamentary term, they emphasised on Siol.

At the same time, the question arises as to whether the decision-making of MP Šetinc Pašek is a conflict of interest. In the past, due to the large number of issues related to conflicts of interest, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (CPC) has warned and explained when there is a conflict of interest when appointing ministers and MPs. Siol suggests that you can read more about it HERE.

The editorial office of Siol checked with the CPC whether there is a conflict of interest in the engagement of the mentioned MP in writing, proposing, and adopting the mentioned law. CPC’s answer was published by Siol on its website, we summarise it according to them:

“The commission is not dealing with the case to which your question refers, so it cannot comment on the specific situation without carefully examining all the relevant facts in advance. Circumstances that could indicate a conflict of interests can be very different, so they must always be checked from the point of view of the specific case.

In general, we can say that all officials, i.e., also MPs, are obliged to respect the provisions of the Act on Integrity and Prevention of Corruption (ZIntPK), which also regulate the prevention of conflicts of interest. This is defined by ZIntPK as circumstances in which the private interest of official persons (i.e., officials, officials in positions, and other public servants, managers and members of management, management, and control bodies in public sector entities) influences or creates the appearance of influencing an impartial and the objective performance of its public duties. According to the ZIntPK, the private interest of an official means, among other things, a pecuniary or non-pecuniary benefit for him, for his family members and for other natural or legal persons with whom the official has or had personal, business, or political contacts.

Former jobs can also be considered a business contact of an official person, but the assessment of this depends on the circumstances of the specific case and it is therefore impossible to mark all such contacts as problematic in advance. It is generally accepted that if a vote were taken on a legislative proposal or a decision was taken in another procedure, which would refer to a specific business entity, with which the rights would be granted exclusively to this entity, and if there were the described legal circumstances of a conflict of interests in the case of officials, the in accordance with the provisions of the ZIntPK, they had to completely exclude you from the procedure. Officials must recognise in advance the circumstances (appearance) of a conflict of interest and strictly observe the duty to avoid such circumstances in accordance with the ZIntPK. The institute of mandatory avoidance of conflicts of interest or the limitation of conflicts of interest in the performance of public tasks represents one of the key pillars of the functioning of the rule of law, trust in democratic institutions, transparency, equality, and objectivity in decision-making in public matters and the disposal of public funds.”

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