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Belarus: Monetary rewards for denunciations

In February, Belarusians, helping to expose corrupt officials, began to pay cash compensation. As told in the Prosecutor’s office of Belarus, almost half of corruption crimes is known on the initiative of ordinary citizens. «Ribbon.Roux» tried to find out, will we be able to defeat corruption by rewarding whistleblowers.

The heated activity

Almost daily in the national media there are new corruption scandals. Deputy Chairman of Minsk Executive Committee by the Treasury had built the two houses on the land plots, designed for close relatives. One of the leaders of machine-building plant has shipped a knowingly insolvent Ukrainian company motor vehicles 250 billion Belarusian rubles (about 850 million Russian rubles at the current exchange rate). The Director of a company Berezinskiy district subordinates were forced to request financial aid for medications and expensive treatment, and received in the accounting Department money to give him. A senior official of the Ministry of Finance organized the delivery to the construction sites with the support of large quantities of acrylic baths, has received from their manufacturers luxury car and for two years ran it at the expense of donors.

Almost half of corruption crimes, as stated by the representative of the General Prosecutor’s office Igor Greibo, is becoming known by ordinary people. «Our citizens are quite active go to the police with allegations of corruption. There is no precise figure, but approximately 30-50 percent of cases these crimes are identified as reported by the population». Recently the country launched the provision on payment of remuneration for the reporting of cases of corruption. According to the decree of the Council of Ministers, persons who assisted in identifying not particularly serious corruption crimes, can get up to 30 base amounts (one base amount is equal to 210 thousand rubles, or 10 dollars). If the category of such crime will be recognized as grave or particularly grave, the amount of the payment will amount to 50 base rates. In addition, the informer will compensate for up to 10 base amounts, if he proves that the provision of information demanded certain expenses. Amounts received as a signal about the fact of corruption, not subject to taxation, therefore, should not be listed in the declarations of income and property.

The reward for snitching

On the official website of the Supervisory authority a special section, where anyone can state the fact of bribery or other corrupt activities. Clicking on the correct box, e-visitors of the portal can report dishonest officials and corruption in the power structures, law enforcement bodies and courts. Here you can share information about the whereabouts of the person who committed the crime, and where the illegally obtained money. Potential informants are asked only to articulate your message, reinforcing the known facts of specific information or directions on how to get them. For those who have an extensive evidence base — accounting or other documents, audio or video, it is recommended to send an email to the Supervisory authority. And not owning a computer voluntary informants are encouraged to communicate the old fashioned way — in writing. Only they need to write clear and legible handwriting, refraining from obscene and offensive words and expressions.

Make sure the citizens have disappeared the last doubts about the validity of their actions, on the Prosecutor’s website provides a complete list of corruption crimes. By the way, to complain about corrupt officials on the Belarusian and Russian language. Applicants should be aware of the responsibility for false reporting. Get due reward whistleblowers only after the investigation, if it deems their contribution to the exposure of the criminal is really important. The reward amount set by the office of public Prosecutor on the basis of a request from the investigating authorities. The order of payment will determine the Ministry of Finance. Most likely, the money for the denunciation will be transferred to the personal Bank account of the applicant. Although it is possible that in some cases, require special confidentiality, the informant will be settled in cash.

«The head of the Prosecutor’s office will determine the amount of remuneration, and assess how the participation of a natural person in the identification, suppression and investigation of corruption crimes», — said Igor Greibo. He identified instances where money is not allowed: «Compensation will not be awarded to servicemen and employees of agencies involved in the fight against corruption on duty, as well as individuals involved in corruption offenses». Incidentally, a separate article of expenses on payment services of informers in the Republican budget does not provide. Money on civilian vigilance will be allocated from funds Supervisory authority.

Dry language of numbers

According to statistics, last year Belarus recorded (that is, the sentences entered into force) 1603 corruption crimes. This is approximately 17 percent more than the year before. Most of the corruption offences in 2015 recorded in the Belarusian health — 221, industry — 183, agriculture — 143, the construction — 133, and trade — 123. However last year the country was able to improve my so-called corruption perception Index. At the end of January, the International movement against corruption Transparency International presented the results of the index for 2015, covering 168 countries. Belarus — 107-th place, next to Argentina, côte d’ivoire, Togo, and Ecuador. For comparison: in the second half of the zero years of the Republic was the leader among the most corrupt countries, ranking 150 th place.

Thinking out loud

«Corruption is an important element of the existing model of governance. What does it mean? For example, a man caught on something. It can be planted, but give him to understand that we all know, so you have to serve faithfully, if not all will come out. You can still quietly gather on a dirt the person and at the right moment to present it», — believes head of the analytical project Belarus Securiti Blog Andrew Porotnikov. According to the blogger, corruption in Belarusian is not only the transfer of any values for actions committed by an official, but also abuse of power, which under the Criminal code and corruption can not be ignored. For example, the so-called nepotism: hiring relatives of high-ranking officials and have certain preferences, check are more loyal to something and close my eyes. «And the fact that in the press almost every day there are reports about the detention of corrupt officials, says only that the problem is of such proportions that to close her eyes anymore. A real fight against corruption in Belarus will start when it becomes to arrest the Ministers. While this is only the intimidation of the lower classes,» he added Porotnikov.

The results of a national survey conducted by Independent Institute of socio-economic and political studies, show that almost a quarter of respondents believe that corruption is the most acute problem of the Belarusian society. A statement of the President of the country Alexander Lukashenko that «the government is constantly and severely fighting against corruption» agrees about 40 percent. With almost a third of citizens considers that «Lukashenko will try to fight corruption, but he is unlikely to make significant progress because of corruption in Belarus is ineradicable». A fifth of respondents expressed the view that «Lukashenka is difficult to fight corruption because it is largely dependent on corrupt officials». The same part of respondents are confident that the President himself is interested in corruption.

A course on the Baltic States

According to the corruption perceptions Index 2015, the best results in the fight against this scourge in the post-Soviet space demonstrates Estonia, it takes 23 place. Lithuania and Latvia are located respectively in the 32nd and 40th ranking. Them with different margin are Georgia (48), Armenia (95) and Moldova (103). Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Tajikistan on the procedure of compliance is located in 123-m and 130-m and 136-m. At the bottom of the rankings were Uzbekistan (153) and Turkmenistan (154).

While Estonia without material encouragement of citizens. According to experts, the main factor that allowed the country to significantly reduce corruption, become total computerization and maximum transparency of activity of authorities. Most of the documents in Estonia can now be issued via the Internet, which reduces red tape and simplifies the communication of citizens with the state. Electronic document management also minimizes the role of human factor in solving administrative issues. In addition, the activities of the government and government agencies now visible to anyone who has access to the global network. Every decision of the authorities at most three days should be made public, and officials must be prepared to comment on every decision to the press. In 2003 in the Baltic Republic was established a special parliamentary Commission, which became the Keeper of declarations of economic interests (income) of higher officials, including the President. This authority shall verify the veracity of the data provided in declarations, informs about the results of its audits to the Parliament and public, and if necessary conducts investigations on suspicion of corruption of senior officials. The corrupt officials of lower rank engaged in special police, in the state which includes investigators and operational staff, dealing with only corruption offences. The unit has a phone, a direct connection, according to which Estonians can report cases of corruption. But if the citizens do this, without intent to profit.

In another of the former Federal Republic Kazakhstan, Belarus, rely on the practice of cash incentives to the citizens for denouncing corruption. Moreover, the Kazakhs were the first in the post-Soviet space has legitimized this norm — even in 2012. Cash payments to voluntary informants started producing since 2013, when these goals are to allocate the budget — 32 million tenge per year (about 6.5 million rubles at the current exchange rate). In the first two years of the award as a signal of corruption received 336 people for a total amount of 38 million tenge. Citizens of Kazakhstan, helping the state to fight corruption, can get in as a one-time remuneration of 30 to 100 MCI (monthly calculation index) depending on the severity of the solved thanks. There is 1 MCI is equal to KZT 2121. By the way, in case of refusal the money is unselfish to a Kazakh informant will offer an alternative reward of appreciation or thank you letter.

The remaining States in the post-Soviet space has not yet been willing to pay its citizens for information about crimes of a corruption orientation. In Baku, like thinking about the introduction of payments for such messages, but it is not in a hurry. While famous for its feudal traditions Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan has not even considered this possibility.

Tatiana Kirsanova