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Corruption – trends are not encouraging, enforcement lags behind

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The manifestations of corruption or abuse of the power entrusted by society, position or official status for the benefit of personal interests or closely related individual’s interests are studied in the form of a local scale survey by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (Latvia) on a regular basis by interviewing members of society and representatives of companies.

For example, during the survey in Latvia in 2022, it was concluded that the overall picture of the results had not changed significantly in society, while results of the entrepreneurs’ survey have shown negative trends, namely – the number of the respondents, who have committed or who assume they could commit corruptive acts has increased; furthermore, scepticism as to the fairness of the public institutions and public procurement procedures has increased.[20]

Although the majority of the respondents have demonstrated a negative attitude towards using informal solutions when contacting the state and municipal institutions, 20% of the interviewees in Latvia (result equivalent to the data of 2021) and 31% of the enterprises (plus a 10% increase within a year) have used acquaintanceships, gifts or informal payments when dealing with their matters within the last two years.[20]

The public’s mood with respect to bribing shows a negative trend. During the survey, the possibility of giving a bribe to a public official was assumed by 15% (6% over the indicator a year ago) of the respondents. Similarly as in the survey conducted a year ago, this year, the key reasons as to why the residents could decide in favour of giving a bribe to a public official were: a greater sense of assurance that their issue will be dealt with at all (mentioned by 33% of respondents; 1% over the indicator of 2021), an assurance of a guaranteed provision of quality service (26%; 2% over the indicator of 2021), and the conviction of a favourable solution to the problem (25%; 5% more than the indicator of 2021).[20]

On a global scale, the incidence of corruption is explored by determining the corruption perceptions index in various countries – the action taken by the international anti-corruption organisation “Transparency International”. In 2022, Estonia gained 74 points in this ranking, Lithuania – 62, while Latvia retained its previous indicator – 59 points out of 100. Poland takes a little lower position with 55 points, whereas the evaluation of Moldova reaches 39 points.[21]

The Latvian branch of “Transparency International” called “Sabiedrība par atklātību – Delna” (Society for transparency – Delna) relates the stagnating result of Latvia to the lack of decisiveness when it comes to setting prevention and the combating of corruption as a national priority, as well as it states that the Corruption Prevention and Combating Measure Plan of 2021–2025 was supposed to be adopted more than two years ago, but it still has not been done. The organisation assumes that the decision makers, the government and also the society do not fully realise the negative consequences of corruption and consider that the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau should take more initiative in this area.[21]

It should be added that the fight against corruption in many countries is encumbered also by the comparatively slow investigation procedure, as well as periodically observed problems in relation to the exchange of information with other countries, where corruption suspects are legally entitled to remain silent, not to agree to interrogation and withhold all the information they have.

[20] https://www.knab.gov.lv/lv/petijumi?utm_source=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.lv%2F

[21] https://www.lsm.lv/raksts/zinas/latvija/latvijas-korupcijas-uztveres-indekss-2022-gada-nemainigs.a494118/

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