Bankruptcy of the Aluminum Plant in Podgorica amidst accusations, handcuffs and strikes

Bankruptcy of the Aluminum Plant in Podgorica amidst accusations, handcuffs and strikes

IBNA Special Report/Administrative Court in Montenegro has announced the bankruptcy of the Aluminum Plant in Podgorica. The financial officer of this plant ends up behind bars. Numerous accusations for financial abuses. Workers launch a strike and demand for work to continue. Appeal for ecological danger if the plant is closed.


Podgorica, July 11, 2013

Financial Officer of the Aluminum Plant in Podgorica (APP), Dimitrij Potrubac has been arrested by police in Montenegro, on suspicions of causing serious damages to the electro-energetic system of Montenegro.

Dimitrij Potrubac has been arrested in the early hours of Thursday by criminal police of Security Center in Bjello Pole.

The arrest was carried out in cooperation with border police in Bjello Pole, as the State Prosecution had categorized the offense for which he is accused as a crime.

The arrest followed a financial audit of APP, after this state owned plant was declared bankrupt.

AAP issue has sparked many debates in Montenegro. These days, Administrative Court in Montenegro decided to announce this plant bankrupt amidst many accusations for abuses with its financial funds.

Many state and private owned subjects owe large amounts of money to this plant. Dragan Rakocevic, judge of this Administrative Court, launched a public appeal to debtors to pay their debts to the plant, although the latter has been declared bankrupt.

The liquidator of AAP, Veselin Perishivic has been definitely appointed in this position. He has submitted his report to the economic court, which stresses that in the current circumstances, it’s impossible to preserve production at AAP, the largest plant of Montenegro.

The bankruptcy was demanded by the Ministry of Finance on June 14, due to 25 million Euros of warranty paid by the government last year on behalf of the plant to the German Deutsche Bank.

Once the company is liquidated, the production process will be taken over by Montenegro Bonus, which has long purchased raw material and energy for the needs of the plant.

General director of AAP is Dragan Mijovic. He says that if the plant is shutdown in an uncontrolled way, this could cause great damages to the health and environment.

Mr. Mijovic is against bankruptcy, declaring that the plant must be reorganized.

The same opinion is also shared by the workers and their union. They have started a general strike and demand for work to continue.

Convinced that the plant can survive through the process of reorganization, workers appeal for the state and seek information as to how many of them can go back to work. Until this happens, the strike will continue.

But, the judge of the Administrative Court, Dragan Rakocevic says that the strike is forbidden to take place in enterprises under bankruptcy and considers every strike that takes place under these circumstances as illegal.

Judge Rakocevic believes that bankruptcy is the best solution.

He also offers a suggestion for strikers: “I believe that it’s better to talk rather than hold a strike”.

After the bankruptcy, the director is not obliged to abide to the previous contracts, all contracts are void while aluminum can be sold in the free market.

The government has decided to declare this plant bankrupt as a result of the lack of cooperation with the Russian partner.

The Russian partner refused to sign the suggested agreement. The debts owed by AAP to the state would be used to pay electricity used illegally.

Under these circumstances, when a solution doesn’t appear in the horizon, accusations in the media and in the political arena are growing, while the Prime Minister and several ministers have announced a press conference in the days to come in order to clarify the positioning of the state in this situation. /ibna/