Another piece of news related to our competition team in Serbia are the recent signings of a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement of Cooperation in the field of forensics between the Commission for the Protection of Competition and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).

The agreement stipulates that the MIA will from now on be providing police assistance to the Commission in the performance of its activities under the Law on Protection of Competition, including information exchange and the provision of human resources, as well as professional education and training in the field of digital forensics for the Commission's officials. More precisely – and perhaps most importantly – what this agreement also entails is that MIA will be giving technical support to Commission's officials during the conducting of dawn raids, but also in the aftermath of such inspections through fact-checking processes and overall investigation activities. Under the Competition Law, the Commission's officials undertaking the raids are entitled to police assistance (which was not necessary in previous inspections, since the companies cooperated with the officials willingly), but this agreement solidifies this support and strengthens the collaboration between the enforcers.

The two institutions wasted no time, as the first step in the announced cooperation was taken last week when the Commission for Protection of Competition's experts participated in a two-day workshop on the use of modern forensic tools during unannounced on-site investigations. The workshop was mainly focused on going through simulation scripts and on analysing results through the use of forensic software and equipment.

The support given by MIA will surely be of significant benefit to the Commission, since its officials have already engaged in their first dawn raids during last year, most notably in the tobacco and e-cigarette industry.

On a more strategic level, the agreement between the MIA and the Commission completes the formal conditions for inter-institutional cooperation, providing for a facilitated approach to future projects and a more efficient battle against corruption in general.