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Legal instruments to fight against the corruption

Every year Transparency International (the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption) is ranking almost 200 countries in terms of perceived levels of corruption. According to corruption perception index, main tool used to assess the level of corruption, in 2010 Lithuania got five points on a scale of ten and Lithuania takes 46th place in the line of 178 countries. Countries which receive highest scores are considered as absolutely no corrupt, low scores – highly corrupt. So Lithuania with its five points should be considered as moderately corrupt country. This corruption perception index in 2010 is so far the best result for Lithuania (in 2009 Lithuania got 4.9 points, 2008 – 4.6 points and 2007 – 4.8 points).

Lithuanian Government pays a lot of attention to the fight against the corruption. We have law on Prevention of Corruption; on 16 June 2011 the Parliament of Lithuania adopted a new National programme of fight against corruption for 2011-2014.

Fight against the corruption is one of the priorities in the Programme of fifteenth (actual) Lithuanian Government. Government’s Programme determines 7 main domains of which fight against the corruption is the second one. The Government seeks to reduce motives and opportunities for corruption and implement the responsibility for the corruption. The motives for corruption should be reduced by reducing bureaucracy, by implementing principles of honest competition and clear financing mechanisms. The opportunities for corruption are reduced by ensuring the publicity of legislation procedure. Also the Government will seek to improve the control and transparency of the activity of public officers and the corruption crimes investigation.

According to article 1 of the law on Prevention of Corruption its purpose is to lay down basic principles, objectives and tasks of the prevention of corruption in both the public service and the private sector, the measures for combating corruption and their legal basis, the corruption prevention bodies, their rights and duties in the sphere of corruption prevention.

Article 5 of this law determines the measures for combating corruption:

  • corruption risk analysis;
  • anti-corruption programmes;
  • review of the effect on corruption level of legal acts or their drafts (anti-corruption assessment of legal acts or their drafts);
  • provision of the information about a person seeking or holding office at a state or municipal agency or about a person who might represent Lithuania in European Union or international institutions;
  • provision of the information to the registers of public servants and legal entities;
  • education and awareness raising of the public;
  • public disclosure of detected corruption cases;
  • other measures for the prevention of corruption provided for by law.

Corruption risk analysis is done by the Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania. This institution is the main one in fighting against the corruption. During the corruption risk analysis Special Investigation Service observes from anti-corruption point of view different areas of activity of state and municipal agencies and provides them with proposals for institutional anti-corruption programmes or others anti-corruption measures. All information about performed corruption risk analysis might be found on the internet site of Special Investigation Service (http://www.stt.lt/lt/menu/korupcijos-prevencija/korupcijos-rizikos-analize/).

The anti-corruption assessment of the existing or draft legislation is done by the state or municipal institution drafting or passing a legal act. The anti-corruption assessment must be performed if this legal text regulates public relations containing corruption risk.

Special Investigation Service within its competence is collecting and providing information about a person seeking or holding office at a state or municipal agency. Such information might be provided for a head of an institution which is appointing or has appointed the person in question, or a state politician. Information is collected and provided with a view to assess person’s reliability and to reduce the probability of corruption in state and municipal agencies. Anti-corruption programmes might be national, sectoral, institutional and other programmes. According to article 7 of the law on Prevention of Corruption the sectoral, institutional and other anti-corruption programmes are developed by the state, municipal and non-governmental institutions which have been charged with the development of such programmes by the National Programme and other regulatory acts. Institutional anti-corruption programmes may also be developed by state and municipal institutions where after corruption risk analysis suggestions were made to develop such a programme.

Off course the main one is National programme of fight against corruption (hereafter – Programme) which is adopted by Lithuanian Parliament and as it was mentioned before on 16 June 2011 a new national programme was adopted (2011-2014).

The purpose of this Programme is to ensure the effective and purposeful system of corruption prevention and its control in the Republic of Lithuania. It’s the third national programme in Lithuania; first one was adopted in 2002. But unfortunately even in the Programme its self it is recognized that Lithuania didn’t achieve any essential improvement in the area of the fight against the corruption.

National Programme is a long document, it consists of 67 pages. The main part of it is a plan of measures implementing the Programme.

While implementing the Programme a new Law on Fundamentals of Legislation is already drafted and presented to the Parliament. This new law should ensure a clearer adoption of legal acts and more active participation of the society in this procedure. The draft of the law establish main notions of the legislation (legislation, initiative of legislation, register of legal acts and others), principles of legislation (purposeful, proportional, respect of human rights and freedoms, openness and transparency, efficiency, clarity, system, concentration, responsibility) which shall be applied in the legislation procedure and all subjects and institutions drafting legal acts or adopting it would follow these principles in their activity. Drafts of legal acts and all related information as well as suggestions received from interested persons will be published in the information system managed by the chancery of the Parliament. Hereby the society will have a possibility to get information on new legal acts and on persons participating in their drafting or adoption procedure.

Amendments of other legal acts are also projected in the Programme. These amendments should guarantee a lawful and public participation of lobby groups into the procedure of legislation, a comprehensive regulation of state officers and politicians’ duties and necessity to inform their superior about interested persons’ non-legal attempt to influence their decisions, an appropriate and comprehensive anti-corruption assessment of legal acts or their drafts and the responsibility for a provision of known false information, an establishment of principles of this assessment etc. The goal of all these measures is to create more open and transparent procedure of legislation.

Other measures of the Programme are designed for the improvement of courts and law enforcement institutions activity by reducing corruption opportunities, for the reform of institutional system used for the supervision of legal entities, for the guarantee of transparent and rational organisation of goods or services procurement during public procurements, for the elimination of corruption motives in the health service system as well as in the institutions responsible for the supervision of territory planning and construction. And off course a lot of measures seek to improve public administration and state service as it’s the main area to be affected by the corruption. Also the Programme provides measures on the anti-corruption education and better investigation of corruption crimes.

One of the strategic aims of the Programme is to improve corruption perception index and to get at least six points of ten for Lithuania. All these measures, goals and aims look very important and effective in the legal acts. There are no doubts that previous programmes had more or less the same purpose – reduce the level of corruption in Lithuania. According to numbers presented at the beginning of this article situation in Lithuania is getting better just maybe a little bit too slowly. To get six points of ten during the next assessment of Transparency International would be a big achievement for Lithuania.

Giedre Uleviciute

ECOVIS Miškinis, Kvainauskas ir partneriai advokatų kontora
E-mail: giedre.uleviciute@ecovis.lt - Internet: www.ecovis.lt