Medvedev clamps down on corruption

A project on national strategy for the anti-corruption struggle has been finalized. "This is a basic document, which is intended for many years to come,” noted Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting of the Anti-Corruption Council.

The draft document outlines the main areas of the state’s anti-corruption policy. However, the President has stressed, it's not only down to the legal basis in the anti-corruption struggle, but what is more important is “the attitude in society, including among officials, to this phenomenon”. To change the attitude to corruption in society is “the most difficult” task, according to the President.

As part of those measures in fighting corruption, Medvedev has announced that income and property data of the Presidential officials will soon become public. In 2009, Medvedev issued a decree that obliges administrative officials to submit this data.

"Increased public attention will be given to information about income and property that is now being submitted by all public servants and officials, as required by the decrees signed last year. This year, income and property statements will also be submitted by administrative officials and are due to be published soon. The same applies to all other public servants who are required by the presidential decrees to submit, and some of them to publish, such data," said the President, stressing that in his opinion it is “an important, though, of course, not universal” way of cracking down on corruption.

Medvedev has also suggested introducing a fine, which would be levied as a multiple of any bribe: "We should analyze the idea of a fine as a multiple of the bribe to punish corruption," as he emphasized that material loss would be the most serious blow to corrupt officials.

Ordering his administration to analyze the proposal, Medvedev added that the fine as a multiple of the bribe could work, in Medvedev’s opinion, as property confiscation is quite “difficult from the point of view of the criminal law and procedure.”

The President has also ordered the administration officials, heads of Ministries and law enforcement agencies to personally follow up on people’s addresses to them. “I would like to suggest one more time to the officials present here, not to wait until I call you and tell you that there is some new information that needs to be checked. You have to do it yourself”, said the President to the Council members, “you have to follow those calls personally, including the corruption allegations.”

Tackling corruption in off-shore zones, in Medvedev’s view is a more difficult task, as he thinks that it’s unlikely that there will be an active co-operation from those zones: "I think it's unlikely, unfortunately. Everyone is trying to combat them now, including in the G20 format. Whenever I come to such a meeting, everyone there calls for a reduction of zones with a specialized tax regime, although it is not easy to do it. Plus, these forms do have certain advantages. However, I think it's obvious that they will not likely sign corresponding agreements with us. We need to act differently".

Chief of the Kremlin administration, Sergei Naryshkin, who heads the presidium of the Presidential Council for Anti-Corruption Struggle, has also delivered a major report on the problem. He said, for instance, that it is planned to increase the public control of the budget’s allocated funds usage and to conduct large-scale sociological research on the effectiveness of anticorruption work.

Naryshkin has also proposed improving the mechanisms of establishing, functioning and liquidation of corporate bodies and to create monitoring of the activities of self-regulating organizations. He has also suggested updating the national anti-corruption plan once every two years.

The chief of the Kremlin administration has also reminded that a special anti-corruption law center has been established to provide legal support to the socially unprotected people and to defend their rights. Last year, for instance, the center has helped more than 40,000 people and in Naryshkin’s view, more similar bureaus will be established in the near future.

Reference

The Anti-Corruption Council was created by the President in 2008. Later that year, a national plan to combat corruption was approved and several federal laws on corruption prevention were passed. In September last year, the President issued decrees setting the procedures for checking, releasing and publishing information on property situation of public officials and their family members.

According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office investigating committee, in 2009 alone, more than 20,000 corruption-related cases were opened, among those more than 1,500 criminal verdicts against persons with “special status” were issued.

Olga Masalkova, RT