Following almost a year and a half of litigating a disciplinary dispute, Mr. Vesko Kažić, known to the public as one of whistleblowers from the Railway Infrastructure of Montenegro, was acquitted of charges for alleged violation of three working duties. He was formerly head of Internal Control Department in the Railway.
Due to the fact that he alerted first the management and than the public on several illegal actions in the company, for which he also filed criminal charges to the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office against responsible persons in the company which is predominantly State owned, the employer initiated two disciplinary procedures against him and punished him with the maximum fine provided by the Regulation – 20% of the monthly salary for a period of three months.
The courts in Podgorica have found that the final decision by which Kažić was found guilty and fined was unlawful. The Basic Court established, and High court confirmed, that the Deputy Executive Director of the Railway Infrastructure of Montenegro Mr. Slobodan Kumburović, found Kažić liable for violation of duties that did not exist in the Regulation or were not even linked to disciplinary measures. It was also established that Mr. Kumburović led disciplinary proceedings and imposed fines without legal authorization.
Because of these omissions the Court obliged the employer to repay Kažić the amount of 108.94€ in the name of imposing fines and compensate his legal costs in the amount of 855.31€.
Vesko Kažić in this case was represented by a lawyer Dalibor Tomović, within free legal aid provided to the whistleblowers by HRA, with support from the Open Society Foundation (OSF). We hope that this example of a successful whistleblower protection will encourage citizens to report suspected illegal action in public interest.
Vesko Kažić issued the following statement: “I am satisfied with the verdict that proved an illegal disciplinary proceeding against me and punishment without legal basis. The employer last year started yet another disciplinary action against me, that was terminated. The motive behind the initiation of disciplinary proceedings by the employer was to put pressure on me, as I had publicly pointed out to numerous oversights of the responsible executives in my company, primarily related to endangering the safety of railway traffic which is why I submitted criminal charges against responsible persons of the to the Supreme State Prosecutor’s Office. “