Legal and Organizational Issues of Practices and Ways to Improve Legislation On Fighting Corruption Conference Chaired by Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Konyuk is held on November, 2017

The event organized by the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus on the basis of the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus is attended by Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Vasily Zharko, Chairman of of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus Valentin Sukalo, Chairman of the State Control Committee of the Republic of Belarus Leonid Anfimov, Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus Ivan Noskevich, Minister for Taxes and Duties of the Republic of Belarus Sergei Nalivaiko, the representatives of the State Secretariat of the Security Council, the National Assembly, Constitutional Court as well as the representatives of other interested state bodies and public organizations.

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It is of symbolic importance that within a few days before the conference, 20 years have passed since the day when special units for fighting corruption and organized crime were formed within the prosecutorial bodies. Therefore, the development of common approaches to forming practices of applying specific legislation and determining the directions for improving the anticorruption policy of the state would not be possible without discussion of the current situation in the sphere of fighting corruption.

In his opening speech, Mr. Konyuk noted that the collaboration within the framework of the interdepartmental conference is of joint interest and contributes to the development of common approaches to forming practices of applying anti-corruption legislation, promptly eliminating existing problems, identifying areas for further improvement of the anti-corruption policy.

In annual corruption perception index for the year of 2016, Belarus rose from the 107th position to the 79th one. An important factor that made this progress obvious is the anti-corruption legislation of the Republic of Belarus which – in the opinion of international experts – can be considered as one of the most advanced legislations worldwide.

The legislation is based on new Law “On fighting corruption” that came into force in January 2016. The law introduced a number of new preventive mechanisms designed to minimize corruption and exclude preconditions for corrupt behavior.

The case in point is that the law introduces such measures as: a perpetual ban on the employment, as a civil servant, of any employee who has committed a serious crime or a particularly serious crime against the interests of the office or related to the use of his/her authority; restrictions related to the pension entitlements stipulated by the legislation on civil service, applicable to the persons who have committed serious or particularly serious corruption offenses; civil and legal mechanisms of seizure of property by court order, in case no evidence provided showing lawful income used for property acquiring; broadening information on incomes and property subject to declaration by high-ranking officials; complementing the measures for corruption fighting with the system of public control.

Concluding his speech, Alexander Konyuk recalled that the current Corruption Fighting Program for the years of 2017 – 2019 is being performed now. Within the framework of the program such activities as control measures in strategic areas of the economy, elimination of excessive administrative regulation of businesses are being carried out. Legislative acts that regulate the implementation of administrative procedures, public procurement, licensing, allocation of land plots have been substantially amended. Some amendments to the legislation aiming at minimizing state interference in the activities of economic entities have been made. Notification regime for businesses wishing to conduct certain common types of economic activity has been introduced. The requirements for conducting economic activity in the areas of trading, public catering, consumer services have been systemized. The institution of tax advice services has been implemented. Fire protection, sanitary and epidemiological, environmental requirements are being optimized now. Administrative barriers related to complicated and lengthy procedures necessary for obtaining certificates, approvals and other types of permits are being abolished.

These and other anti-corruption measures realized in practical activities show their efficiency and make possible preventing systematic corruption in the Republic of Belarus.

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In his report, Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lashin emphasized that the Prosecutor General's Office is the body entrusted with the tasks to organize the measures of corruption fighting. In addition to carrying out supervisory functions, it systematically accumulates information on corruption crimes and offenses, the effectiveness of measures taken by state anti-corruption bodies, coordinates their activities in this area, analyses this information and participates in rule-making.

The work done has yielded substantial results: there are 1389 corruption crimes revealed in the country during 9 months of 2017; 563 persons who committed the crimes were identified. Following prosecutorial control actions, 53 criminal cases were initiated. In addition, the analysis of the practices of prosecutorial oversight revealed a number of areas prone to corruption risks: public procurement, leasing, receivables, loans, etc.

In conclusion, Mr. Lashin draw attention to the fact that the Corruption Fighting Program for the years of 2017 – 2019 sets the tasks of increasing the participation of public organizations, political parties and citizens in implementing measures to prevent corruption.

The practice of public discussions of drafts of certain normative acts has positively proved itself. At the same time, the analysis shows that the implementation of provisions on public control in the area of fighting corruption is not sufficient enough. The Prosecutor General's Office prepared its proposals on this issue and forwarded them to the Ministry of Internal Affairs as the body responsible for appropriate item of the said Program.

The participants of the conference will consider a number of problematic issues related to the organization and realization of measures against corruption in government bodies, in the area of entrepreneurship, revealing and fighting corruption-related offenses in the activities of financial investigative bodies. They will discuss the role of personnel policy in fighting corruption, law enforcement practice in public procurement. The participants will also exchange opinions on the efficiency of declaring incomes and property by government officials.

Proposals received during the event will be carefully analyzed by the Prosecutor General's Office. If necessary, the supervisory authority will initiate the introduction of changes and amendments to regulatory legal acts.

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