Comments by Sergei Ivanov following meeting of the Council for Countering Corruption

Sergei Ivanov file photo

(Kremlin.ru – October 30, 2013)

The Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office spoke with journalists about the results of auditing declarations by civil servants and staff at state corporations, as well as companies with state participation, conducted in 2013.

Sergei Ivanov reminded journalists that anticorruption standards apply to all civil servants and officials, certain categories of municipal offices (not all), employees at the Bank of Russia, and corporations, companies and foundations with state participation. These individuals are obligated to provide information concerning their incomes, expenditures, property, and property obligations, and all this information is to be made publicly available ­ typically, on the websites of the organisations where a particular employee works.

Moreover, in addition to making personal declarations, these individuals are charged with preventing any possibility of a conflict of interests ­ in other words, ensuring that a situation where the powers granted to them can be used for personal gain cannot occur.

In 2013, for the first time, civil servants were required to declare not just their incomes, but also their expenditures, if such expenditures exceed the combined income for the past three years of the civil servant and members of his or her family. There are currently 14,400 such officials, representing the first individuals to submit declarations of their expenditures.

Of these, 12,700 individuals declared that they had acquired property. Just over 1,600 individuals declared that they had acquired vehicles whose cost exceeded their three-year income level. Sixty-nine officials became owners of securities and shares in commercial organisations.

These declarations have been analysed and audited. We have already conducted 600 such audits. As a result, only 20 instances of failure to submit data on expenditures or submit inaccurate data were revealed. We have already launched serious verifications regarding these violations.

During the first half of 2013, the government’s anticorruption agencies conducted more than 130,000 audits on the accuracy and completeness of data concerning municipal and regional employees’ incomes. Based on these audits, nearly 3,000 civil servants are now subject to legal liability. Of these, 200 civil servants at various levels have been dismissed due to loss of confidence.

They include five individuals from federal executive agencies. In addition, 158 individuals from regional offices of federal government, including the Interior Ministry, were dismissed due to loss of confidence, as well as 32 individuals at the municipal and regional level.

Anticorruption commissions have begun auditing both the officials themselves as well as candidates for deputy positions in state, regional and municipal service. 500 candidates were denied employment in corresponding positions following audits of their income and property declarations.

Mr Ivanov also reminded that on April 2 of this year, a Presidential Executive Order was signed establishing limitations on foreign assets held by civil servants. As of today, just over 1,600 municipal and state civil servants hold these types of assets.

This number represents less than 0.1% of all civil servants. Of these, 996 own property abroad, which is not forbidden. For the most part, this property is located in parts of the former Soviet Union ­ CIS nations ­ as well as Bulgaria, Spain, Turkey, Finland and Egypt.

Another issue concerns conflicts of interest. Corresponding commissions are receiving increasing numbers of declarations from employees concerning potential conflicts of interest. In other words, these are reports submitted on the employees’ initiative, stating that they have or may have a conflict of interest. During the first half of 2013, 2,100 such reports were received.

Employees are reporting cases of attempted bribery and attempts to engage them in crimes of corruption. This year, over 2,500 notices were received and examined from civil servants stating that they had been offered bribes or asked to violate ethical norms, drawn into conflicts of interest, etc.

Based on the results of these statements, 835 criminal cases have been launched and 311 individuals have already been convicted. These include bribe-givers and individuals who tried to persuade a civil servant to engage in unlawful activities.

Concerning law enforcement agencies, according to data from the Interior Ministry, in the five years since the adoption of the main law on countering corruption (passed in 2009), 242,000 instances of corruption-related crimes were brought to light. This year alone, according to the Interior Ministry’s assessments, the damage amounted to over ten billion rubles, while the bribes given and taken which had been brought to light and proven in court were worth 370 million rubles. At the same time, the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office noted that corruption-related crimes are always latent ­ i.e., secretive. According to the Supreme Court’s Judicial Department, 3,500 individuals were officially convicted of corruption-related offenses in the first half of this year.

According to Mr Ivanov, this year alone, Presidential Executive Office staff analysed approximately 9,500 declarations submitted by governors, Presidential Executive Office staff, members of the Cabinet, the Federal Assembly, the Accounts Chamber and other supreme government agencies within the framework of the planned anti-corruption actions. Many serious offenses that have been brought to light in recent years have served as the basis for holding 18 in-depth anticorruption audits. Eight senior officials were dismissed from government service based on their results, and in some cases, materials have been submitted that may lead to criminal cases.

The audits revealed evidence of concealing data on incomes, property and property obligations; in addition, questions arose concerning certain staff members at the Defence Ministry, Finance Ministry, Federal Service for Defence Order, the Interior Ministry, and the Federal Drug Control Service.

When violations are brought to light, the associated evidence is reported to the President, Prime Minister and ministers who make corresponding decisions.

Sergei Ivanov stated that consistent work to eradicate corruption at all levels will be continued, regardless of rank, titles, or official position. The Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Offices stressed that nobody will be considered above the law and no compromises will be made.

[featured image is file photo of past event]