Company Registers

Request Process in Montenegro

Summary: If Information Is Already Available Online, There Is No Obligation to Facilitate Further Access

Request sent to Central Registry of Companies (CRPS)
Commission for Securities (CfS)
Outcome of request Central Registry of Companies (CRPS): Information Refused
Commission for Securities (CfS): Information Refused
Time taken to respond Central Registry of Companies: 8 working days (deadline is 15 working days). When we re-sent the request, they did not respond.
Commission for Securities: 10 working days (deadline is 15 working days)
Reason for refusal Central registry of companies (CRPS)
The first time we sent the request, three reasons were given:

  • Tax secret/database secrecy
  • No need to answer if info is already available.

The second time we sent the request, no response was received.

Commission for Securities (CfS):
No need to answer if info is already available.

 

On 30 July 2013, our partners in Montenegro, MANS, sent two requests for full access to the company register database. One was sent to the Central registry of companies (CPRS) and the other was sent to the Commission for Securities (CfS). In Montenegro, the deadline for responding to an access to information request is of 15 working days.
 
Request sent to Commission for Securities (CfS):
On 13 August 2013, the Commission for Securities responded to our request, stating that they were not obliged to provide us with the full database because the Montenegrin access to information law states that government agencies do not need to enable access to information if that information is already accessible to the public or if it is found on the website of a public authority.

Request sent to Central registry of companies (CRPS):
The CPRS responded to our request on 9 August 2013, refusing us access to the full database, based on the following three arguments:

  • The information requested is partially a tax secret, according to the article 16 paragraph 1 of the Law on Tax Administration;
  • Access to data held by the CRPS can already be obtained online, and the access to information law states that this means that public bodies are not required to facilitate access to information;
  • In addition, they argued that citizens could access the information and documentation in the database by visiting the registry office (which is open 6 hours a day) in order to inspect, rewrite or copy excerpts from the Register.

However, we missed the deadline for appealing against this decision (due to a mix-up with the post), and so a second request was sent on 5 September 2013. The CRPS did not reply to the second request, so an appeal was sent to the Information Commissioner on 30 September 2013, which complained of the CRPS’ failure to respect the deadline.

The Information Commissioner missed its deadline for ruling, which was due on 18 October 2013, and so an Urgency Procedure was initiated by MANS on 21 October.

The deadline for the Information Commissioner to respond to the Urgency Procedure was on 28 October 2014, but the Information Commissioner ruled on our appeal against the CPRS more than two weeks later, on 14 November 2013.

The decision stated that the CPRS had violated the access to information law due to its failure to respond within the deadline set. The Information Commissioner determined that the CRPS should respond to our request within 30 days of the ruling.

However, we never received a response from the CPRS. MANS initiated an urgency procedure, calling on them to respond as soon as possible, but to no avail. On 19 March 2015, MANS sent a proposal for the initiation of a penal procedure to the Ministry of internal affairs which is in charge of applying penal provisions in case there is a misapplication of the FOI Law. We are currently awaiting the outcome of this process.

“Full, free access to company register databases is an important prerequisite for any society that intends to be transparent and to serve in the best interest of its citizens.
Ideally, company registers should allow the public to access the data on persons and companies freely and at no cost. Data provided in those registries should ensure the unambiguous identification of companies and persons connected to them. Company registers should contain reliable and complete information. In order for the public to rely on the accuracy of the data submitted to the Registry, it is essential that the data is published in such a way that permits verification by journalists and civil society.
Open registries are also crucial for investigative journalists and civic organisations so they can investigate cases of corruption and organized crime, the association of public officials with members of organized crime through ownership structures of companies or joint possession of immovable property, or to prove that public officials have hidden criminal assets.”
Radovan Terzić, Campaigner at NGO MANS

Accessing Montenegro´s Company Register

Information available (for free) On the CRPS website one can find: Directors Names and Surnames, the registered address of company and shipping address, the registration number or ID number of company, past information (previous directors and shareholders, old names etc), date of registration, status, short name.
Annual Reports and founding documents are available upon request.
Provision for public access Electronic information is available online for free, although in 2013 the ID numbers, Dates of birth, Addresses of owners and other data belonging to individuals were removed from public access.All other information that is not published electronically can be accessed on paper (Annual reports, registration documents, founding documents and changes in the company), but you must pay for the costs of photocopying.
Cost per record Photocopying one page costs €0,10.
If documents need to be sent by post, you must also cover the standard shipping fee.
Cost for whole database Bulk access is not possible.

 

Additional Information:
Montenegro´s Right to Information Rating (RTI) (Click here)
Montenegro´s Law on Free Access to Information (Click here)
Montenegro’s company register (Click here)

2018-11-13T10:06:06+00:00
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