news 23 Jan 13

Serbia Elects New Anti-Corruption Chief

Tatjana Babic, the new head of Serbia's Anti-Corruption Agency, says there will be no untouchable people in the fight against graft.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

Serbia's Anti-Corruption Agency has elected its former acting director, Tatjana Babic, as head of the regulatory body.

"As Tatjana Babic has particular experience and a good knowledge of the internal organisation and problems facing the Agency, her election to the post of Director will result in the rapid achievement of the Agency's goals and objectives," the board decision read.

The board interviewed three candidates who made the shortlist.

Following her election, Babic said there would be no untouchable people in the fight against corruption.

"I will not care which political party the person against whom the proceedings are initiated is from," Babic told reporters on Tuesday.

Babic graduated from the Law Faculty of the University of Belgrade in 1998 and has specialized in her postgraduate studies in terrorism, organized crime and corruption.

The previous Anti-Corruption Agency director, Zorana Markovic, was dismissed on November 9 last year after which Babic was appointed acting director.

Markovic was removed from the agency, which began operating in January 2010, for "actions harmful to the agency's reputation," according to the board.

An investigation launched last month said Markovic wrongfully attempted to get hold of a state-owned apartment in Belgrade. She denied the allegations.

A successful fight against corruption remains one of the key conditions for Serbia's progress towards EU membership.

By law, the agency co-ordinates the work of state bodies in the fight against corruption but it has failed to do much so far.

Its only real success was the public release of officials' assets.

A recent survey that the agency carried out after two-and-a-half years of work showed that a third of the population was not aware of its existence.

Babic said that the agency's board in February will propose amendments to the law on the agency in order to increase its powers.

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