The 7th meeting of the Interstate Council for Combating Corruption (the ICCC, the Council) with the participation of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus Andrei Shved was held in Yekaterinburg (Russian Federation). The meeting considered the practice of combating corruption in the Member States of the Council, including topical issues in this area and ways to solve them, the key issues of investigation of crimes related to illegal participation of officials in entrepreneurial activities, the role of effective mutual cooperation in criminal cases of this category.
Other participants include Anna Vardapetyan, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Armenia, Askhat Zhumagali, Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kurmankul Zulushev, Prosecutor General of the Kyrgyz Republic, Igor Krasnov, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Sultonzoda Sulaimon Said, Director of the State Financial Control and Anti-Corruption Agency of the Republic of Tajikistan, as well as representatives of the CIS Executive Committee.
For reference. The Council is the body of sectoral cooperation of the CIS and is intended, within its competence, to ensure the organization and coordination of anti-corruption, as well as to review the implementation of the obligations of the participants of the Agreement of the CIS Member States in the field of combating corruption (the Agreement), to ensure constructive cooperation with international organizations and their structures.
The main activities of the ICCC: promotion of convergence and harmonization of national anti-corruption legislation; development of proposals for the development of the legal framework for cooperation; coordinating the interaction of the competent authorities of the Member States of the Agreement, as well as the interested bodies of the CIS in the fight against corruption.
The participants of the meeting made presentations on each of the issues.
In his speech, the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus Andrei Shved noted that in the fight against corruption, special attention in the country is paid, first of all, to the areas of public administration, industry, agriculture and healthcare, with great importance given to the issues of compensation for material damage and the seizure of proceeds of crime.
“Last year, we analyzed the effectiveness of the activities of all law enforcement agencies in combating corruption, and gave specific instructions to intensify their work. The measures taken made it possible to increase the effectiveness of the work of law enforcement agencies. As a result, last year and the past period of this year, an increase in the number of detected corruption crimes was noted,” Andrei Shved stated.
The Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus focused the attention of the participants of the ICCC on the Anti-Corruption Strategy adopted in Belarus for the first time, which is aimed at systematically counteracting this social phenomenon, including by identifying and eliminating its underlying causes and conditions.
He called the programmatic document developed by the Prosecutor General’s Office jointly with the Government, the Set of Measures to Combat Crime and Corruption, an effective mechanism for coordinating the work of all state bodies.
“The priority areas of the Set of Measures for 2023-2025 in the Republic of Belarus are the optimization of the system of public procurement and procurement at one’s own expense, the improvement of institutions of responsibility for corruption, including that of legal entities, legal education. The issue of involving civil society and public associations in preventive activities through the development of public control is also being studied,” said the Prosecutor General.
The head of the supervisory agency of Belarus told his colleagues about the novelties in the national legislation in terms of combating corruption:
amendments to the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On Combating Corruption” developed by the Prosecutor General’s Office, specifying anti-corruption restrictions, the procedure for resolving conflicts of interest, the interaction of law enforcement officers with other state bodies and organizations, the grounds for collecting corruption proceeds;
legal acts adopted in the development of new provisions of the law that regulate the issues of declaring income and property, as well as aimed at preventing corruption in the use of property received in connection with the performance of official duties.
“At the initiative of the Prosecutor General’s Office, in order to further improve financial control over the assets of officials, the Government of the Republic of Belarus created an interdepartmental working group that studies the possibility of introducing electronic declaration of income and property.
In addition, the concept of a tax amnesty is currently being developed, which provides for exemption from liability of persons in the event of voluntary declaration of hidden income and assets. To a certain extent, this will contribute to the prevention of corruption crimes related to the legalization of illegal income,” Andrei Shved said.
He also spoke about the introduction of the national anti-bribery standard into the activities of Belarusian companies: “Continuing the policy aimed at increasing the social responsibility of business and developing good business practices, Belarus has begun developing two more national standards. They will provide guidance on how to ensure that organizations comply with the law and use internal audit mechanisms to that end, and how to promote responsible reporting of corruption or illegal activities. The best international experience will be taken into account when developing new standards.”
The Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus drew attention to the fact that “the process of strengthening economic ties requires the adoption of adequate measures within the framework of integration associations, since without this it is impossible to effectively resist either internal or cross-border corruption.”
In addition, the meeting analyzed the implementation of the 2022 ICCC decisions and the activities of the Interstate Program of Joint Measures to Combat Crime for 2019-2023, and also approved the work plan of the Council for 2024.
The meeting participants agreed that the Council has become one of the most authoritative platforms in the field of interstate cooperation in the fight against malfeasance and delinquency. They expressed confidence that such work will continue to promote the development of ties in the anti-corruption sphere, and the exchange of experience will make it possible to make effective decisions to minimize the manifestations of such a negative social phenomenon.
The next meeting of the ICCC is scheduled to be held in the Republic of Tajikistan in 2024.
As a result of the meeting, a number of decisions in the field of combating corruption were signed.
Photo: Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation
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