LITHUANIA – ANTICORRUPTION ACTIVITIES SIS building in Vilnius (Lithuania) The Concept of Corruption in Lithuania Lithuania‟s Criminal Code or other laws do not define the concept of corruption. According to the Criminal Code, crimes committed against the civil service are considered acts directed against the normal functioning of the lawful government apparatus. Such acts are in opposition to the interests of the civil service and are committed by state officials and civil servants by making use of their official position. Because of these acts, harm is done to the state, its prestige, and its political, economic, social, and material interests. Harm is also done to institutions, commercial enterprises, and organizations, their prestige, and their material and other interests. The rights of citizens and their lawful interests are violated. Drawing on the experience of the countries of the European Union as well as other countries in fighting corruption and making anticorruption laws, it is appropriate to apply an expanded understanding of the notion of corruption. Corruption, in its broadest sense, includes all fields of social action and individuals performing public functions, if they obtain a benefit solely by reason of performing those functions. In the countries of Europe, there is no uniform conception of corruption. The criminal codes of a multitude of European states take a functional approach to corruption – that is, they discuss separate crimes, such as bribery, unlawful influence on business or election results, and other actions, and those specific crimes are considered to be expressions of corruption. Considering the issues associated with the fight against corruption, it is essential to define the very concept of „corruption.‟ A more specific understanding of corruption and passage of appropriate legislation would permit a more accurate explanation of the purposes of the SIS and its tasks and functions. This would help prevent duplication of effort by other institutions in the law-enforcement system. We think that the conception of corruption among state officials and civil servants includes the following: taking the law into their own hands, abuse of official position, and unlawful actions associated with bribery. 2 The Fight against Corruption: Laws and Priorities Starting in 1992, Lithuania has been trying to prevent corruption, organized crime, and the terrorism that goes with it. The experience of other countries shows that the symbiosis of organized criminal gangs and corrupt officials is especially dangerous. The purpose of law-enforcement institutions of all civilized states is to prevent criminal structures from making their way into government structures, not to mention taking control of those government structures. If corruption does take hold at the highest levels of government institutions and if the criminal situation does take a turn for the worse, then the confidence of citizens in law-enforcement and other government structures starts to decline, and the very foundation of a lawful state and its constitutional order is threatened. Laws passed to combat corruption Except the new Criminal Code of the Lithuanian Republic there are others anti-corruption laws in Lithuania: On July 1, 1997 the Seimas of Lithuania passed the Law on the Prevention of Organized Crime. This Law regulates the application of preventive measures against individuals and criminal enterprises whose actions pose a threat to public safety or may form the conditions for the occurrence of social or economic prerequisites of organized crime. The Law on Reporting Residents‟ Property and Income took effect January 1, 1996. The Law requires declaration of residents‟ property and income based on taxes and other mandatory charges to be paid to the Government. All adult residents of the Lithuanian Republic at the beginning of every calendar year must report their existing and acquired property, received income and taxes paid within the year. On June 26, 1997 the Seimas passed the Law on the Grounds for the Legality of the Acquisition of Property and Receipt of Income by Residents. This Law requires that the person suspected of committing a grave selfish offence should prove the legal acquisition by him/her of property and receipt of income. Close relatives and members of the family of the suspect as well as other citizens linked to him/her will have to prove the legality of their property and income. On July 2, 1997 the Seimas passed the Law of co-ordination public and private interests in the State office. This destination of this Law is to ensure making the impartial decision and to block the way for spreading of corruption. As one of the anti-corruption measures, a Law on Lobbying is being drafted. This law will regulate lobbying activities and control thereof. Lobbying is paid activities of lobbyists in drafting, debating and interpreting legislation 3 passed by the Seimas, the Government, Ministries and Governmental institutions in order to achieve the implementation of lawful interests of the lobbyists‟ clients. Definition of corruption Neither the Criminal Code nor any other law defines corruption. Under the Criminal Code violation of the public trust is encroachment upon the normal, legally regulated functioning of state institutions committed by civil servants or public officials by way of abusing their office and against the interests thereof. Such offences inflict damage to the good will of the country, to its political, economic, social and property-related interests. Said offences also damage good will, property-related, financial and other interests of institutions, enterprises and organizations as well as the rights and lawful interests of the public. Punishment for corruption In 1996, 36 cases of bribery were recorded in Lithuania. 97.3% of them were disclosed. In 1997, 53 cases were recorded 96.2% of which were disclosed. In 1998, 39 cases of bribery have been recorded 34 of which were disclosed. The new Criminal Code provides for milder punishment than the former Criminal Code where acceptance of a bribe was even considered to be a capital crime. In practice, Lithuanian judges are usually more lenient in their sentences for corruption, i.e., confinement is often suspended. Nevertheless, in the presence of aggravating circumstances, an actual sentence of imprisonment is passed as well as additional punishment, like seizure of property, stripping of the right to hold certain jobs, to perform certain work or to be engaged in certain activities. Important Issues Organized crime is almost always connected with corruption. Corruption, in its nature and the reasons for it, is a comprehensive social phenomenon, taking in almost all of a country‟s spheres of life. Radical changes have not been achieved in the fight against this criminal activity for the following reasons: There was insufficient appreciation for the fact that organized crime (especially in connection with official corruption, contraband, the weapons trade, the drug trade, money laundering, and transportation of illegal migrants) is not only a national, but also an international, problem. The country‟s border was poorly protected and the border police lacked the equipment to carry out its mission. There was no unified coordinator to solve crimes of corruption and crimes against the civil service. 4 The experience of other countries in fighting against these types of crimes was not considered. There was a lack of well-prepared specialists in the field of investigating cases of corruption and crimes against the civil service. The European Union, Lithuania and the Fight against Corruption Corruption causes negative changes in society. Competition is encouraged, not in the field of goods and services, but rather in the field of bribes. The operation of the free market is stifled. Social and economic growth is distorted, and so the state suffers. Experience shows that if corruption is not brought under control, it grows. In addition, success in the fight against corruption is one of the conditions for Lithuania‟s preparation to become a full member of the European Union. The capability to fulfill the demands of EU membership, in the field of fighting against corruption, is an incentive to strengthen the relevant anticorruption institutions, provide necessary financing and resources, and cooperate with partners in the EU. Information about the Special Investigations Service At the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania In support of the 1997-2000 Government action plan and in order to implement the Government resolution entitled “Regarding Means for Improving the Prevention of Corruption” (issued on 15 March 1996), the Government issued a resolution on 18 February 1997, creating an independent, specialized unit within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The unit is called the Specialized Investigations Service, or SIS. Its purpose is to combat corruption, organized crime (inasmuch as it is connected with corruption), and crimes committed against the civil service. The SIS is comprised of Information Accumulation, Analysis and Forecasting, Anticorruption, Organized Crime Monitoring, Interrogation and other Divisions. The SIS has branches in the large cities of Lithuania: Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Siauliai and Panevezys. The primary tasks of the SIS in the field of anticorruption activity are: 1) To collect, store, analyze, classify, act on, and, in need be, distribute to other units and services of the Ministry of Internal Affairs intelligence and other kinds of information about corrupt state officials and civil servants. 2) To combat potential corruption among state officials and civil servants, especially in the area of law-enforcement. 3) To solve crimes committed by corrupt individuals and crimes committed against the civil service, to interrogate and carry out preliminary investigative work in such criminal cases, and to take steps to prevent such crimes from being committed in the first place. 5 The Targets of SIS investigations The SIS sees organized crime as a complicated system of various connections and relationships among criminal gangs, their members, and the officials who are bribed in order to protect the criminal activity. Therefore, the SIS concentrates its attention on the connections among organized criminal structures‟ leaders, organizers, and corrupt officials. Such connections are much more dangerous to the state than the actual crimes committed by the organized criminal structures. The most widespread kind of corruption (in terms of number of incidents) is bureaucratic corruption. This occurs when a citizen, wanting to speed up the bureaucratic resolution of a problem, tries to „materially‟ encourage the bureaucrat. Of course, the bureaucrat in this situation can also take the initiative by attempting to abuse the powers granted him/her by the state. The bureaucrat can take action of one kind or another, delay action, or offer information only in measured doses. Business corruption is connected with one kind or another of business and has become a tool for carrying out commercial activity. Preventive corruption has a three-fold purpose: obtaining information, purchase of an „indulgence‟ (one-time or multiple), and/or a security guarantee. Individuals who carry out criminal activity or illegal business always are interested in getting information in advance about planned law- enforcement operations, evidence that law-enforcement authorities have, the progress of investigations, and so on. A security guarantee is a promise that no law-enforcement institution will intervene in a one-time or continuing illegal or semi-legal business operation. Regulatory corruption is more complicated, because it is used when it becomes necessary to resolve a complicated dispute over assets, usually among business enterprises. Because of deficiencies in the law and the incomplete regulation of market relations, a dispute over assets quite often can be resolved completely to the satisfaction of either side, using the same laws and regulations. Corruption for cleaning up consequences can take place in the early stages of investigation of a criminal or administrative case. By causing the case to not be filed or brought to a stop, it becomes possible to escape responsibility. In the courtroom stage of a case, there are also many opportunities for this kind of corruption to take place. Corruption for cleaning up consequences is also expressed in the form of softening the punishment that a court administers. Statistics During the 1998 SIS officers disclosed 124 crimes, 68 of which are offences against public service ( 27 - acceptance of a bribe, 17 - abuse of office, 5 - failure to carry out one‟s duties, 9 - employment-related counterfeiting, 5 – bribery cases, 2 - acceptance of illicit remuneration, 6 - bribe-giving). 6 Crimes solved by the SIS in 1998 Crimes within the 8 justicial system(1) 7 Crimes against the state(2) 6 Financial crimes (5) 5 Other crimes (6) Crimes against system 4 of state governance(10) Property-related 3 crimes(13) Crimes against public 2 safety and public Crimes within the civil order(15) service (68) 1 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Persons detained by SIS in 1998 Prosecutors(1) Judges(1) 1% 1% Traffic police officers(23) 11% Uniformed police officers(17) Other persons (53) 12% 21% Police detectives (10) 5% Illegal migrants guides (12) 11% Investigators (2) 3% Traffickers in radioactive materials (5) 2% Migration Department officials 4% Attorneys (2) (2) Traffickers in arms and 2% Other Ministry of Internal Affairs explosives10) Notaries public (1) officials(24) 9% 2% 13% Other state officials (19) 5% During the first six months of 1999, the Special Investigations Service and its field offices made further efforts in the fight against corruption and 7 abuse of office in budgetary, credit and financial institutions, with the focus on corruption among public officials and civil servants in public tenders, privatization and foreign investments. The SIS continues to develop a framework of information and analysis for preventing corruption. The Service collects, analyses and collates different kinds of information from various sources. During the first 6 months of the year 1999, the SIS filed 50 cases based on investigation. 43 of these cases were initiated in the Investigation Division of the SIS, the other 7 in the prosecution offices and investigation department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. During the same period, 134 civil service offences were registered in Lithuania (48, or 35.8 %, of which were solved by SIS agents). Those offences include 23 incidents of bribe taking (passive bribery) the SIS disclosed (15, or 65.2 %,). The SIS has also cleared 12 cases of abuse of office, 2 cases of malfeasance related to document handling, 15 cases of bribe-giving (active bribery), 2 cases of nonfeasance (failure to perform one‟s official duties), 1 case of acceptance of undue remuneration, and 1 case of exceeding one‟s authority, as well as a variety of other miscellaneous cases. During the first 6 months of 1999, the SIS disclosed a total of 62 offences and crimes. DATA ON REGISTERED CRIMES, DISCLOSED BY 6 MONTHS, 1999 Abuse of powers ( 1) 8 1 Acceptance of ilicit 7 remuneration (1) Failure to carry out 6 one's duties (2) Employment - related 5 counterfeiting (2) Bribe giving (15) 4 3 Abuse an office (12) Acceptance of bribe 2 (15) 1 Other cimes (12) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 8 PERSONS DETAINED BY SIS DURING 6 MONTHS, 1999 1 Prosecutor (2%) 1 Economic police officer(2%) 1 Transport polce officer (2%) 1 Bailiff (2%) 1 Tax police officer2% 1 Interrogator (2%) 2 Attorneys (3%) 1 Investigator (2%) 3 Customs officers (5%) 18 Other persons (24%) 4 Security police officers (6%) 6 Traffic police officers (9%) 11 Board police officers (14%) 6 Uniformed police officers (9%) 15 Other state officials (16%) The Law on the Special Investigations Service has been drafted and is under consideration by the Parliament. Within the framework of PHARE, the SIS took an active part in an interagency study, The Preliminary Evaluation of Corruption in Lithuania and Development of a Strategy to Fight Corruption. Within the framework of the PHARE Catch-up Facility, Community assistance will be provided to design a comprehensive national policy for combating corruption. International Cooperation The Special Investigations Service works with the National Bureau of Interpol in the fight against corruption, organized crime, and civil service offences. On the basis of a treaty on legal assistance, improved co-ordination of training and closer Cupertino with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), due to its long experience with combating corruption and the crimes associated with corruption, will be very useful to the SIS. In order to cooperate better on an international level in the fields of crime investigation and prevention, it would be appropriate to establish a unified system for the exchange of confidential information. According to Article 21 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania, the Cupertino of courts, prosecutor's offices, and preliminary investigation and interrogation offices with their counterparts abroad is regulated by the Code of Criminal Procedure and international treaties on 9 legal assistance to which the Republic of Lithuania is a signatory. The Lithuanian ambassador to the Council of Europe, Aurimas Taurantas, together with the representatives of 15 other countries signed a Criminal Law Convention of Corruption on 27 January 1999. This convention defines what kind of activity is considered to be corruption and confirms the commitment of the signatories to set criminal liability for such activity. In addition, the convention provides for international Cupertino between states fighting against corruption. In Lithuania, the convention will come into force after it is ratified by the Parliament. Moreover, by joining this convention, Lithuania becomes a member of GRECO, the group of states fighting against corruption. In accordance with the convention, this group oversees the implementation of the convention. In November of 1998, a delegation of officials from the U.S. Department of Justice and agents from the FBI conducted training in Lithuania on how to fight corruption. "Corruption exists all over the world, but it can be fought against only by recognizing it and openly addressing it," says Mark S. Jimerson, a FBI official who helped organize the training. He works at the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn. In October, during his visit to Washington, President Valdas Adamkus requested assistance from the United States in fighting against corruption. On 7 and 8 November 1997, the eleventh session of the Baltic Assembly took place in Vilnius. During the session, a resolution entitled "Regarding the Fight against Corruption" was passed. On 12 July 1999, a delegation of senior Lithuanian law-enforcement officials (former Head of the SIS, Andrius Pečkys; Adviser to the Director of the State Security Department, Jurgis Jurgelis; Senior Prosecutor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Investigation Division of the General Prosecutor's Office, A.Kliunka) met in London with British law-enforcement officials responsible for combating corruption. Lithuania is the only country from among the candidates seeking EU membership to participate in the project on establishment of a national anti- corruption strategy, which is being conducted by the EU. The European Commission recommended the United Kingdom as a consultant having good experience in the fight against corruption and in a good position to share that experience. The Phare program has allocated 300,000 Euro to the project. In meetings with the representatives of the Home Affairs and Justice Ministries, the prosecutors, and Scotland Yard, it was stressed that the basic direction of the strategy for fighting corruption should be the identification of corruption cases among mid-level civil servants, customs officials, and police officers. According to Mr Pečkys, British law-enforcement is addressing problems similar to what we in Lithuania are dealing with, uncovering corrupt police officers and taking pride in it while they do it. British specialists confess to avoiding the delicate task of untangling corruption cases at high political levels. "That is first of all a matter for the media, society, and the politicians themselves," the EU consultants said. The consultants were, among other things, briefly told about the level and extent of corruption in Lithuania and the measures used to combat it.
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