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This success story has been provided by the Lithuania Anti-Corruption Authority and is posted on this site in its original form.
Orijana Jakimauskiene Director of Communication department The National Audit Office of the Republic of Lithuania Lithuania’s fight against corruption gives positive results.
1. Country background
Ever since regaining its independence, Lithuania has created an array of legal acts designed to fight corruption; furthermore, the government’s anti-corruption strategy was incited and directly influenced by the process of joining the European community. Immediately after Lithuania submitted its application to join the European Union, the fight against corruption was named its most immediate goal. As a result, Lithuania’s achievements in anti-corruption programs have come to be held up as an example to other countries attempting to join the European Union. In 1999, Transparency International was invited to establish an office in Lithuania, which it did in 2002. Furthermore, in 1997 a Special Investigation Service under the Ministry of Internal Affairs was created, and in 2002 the agency acquired complete administrative independence, answerable only to the President of Lithuania and the Parliament. As part of the wider Lithuanian strategy to combat corruption, the state ratified a range of international conventions, created a national anti-corruption strategic plan, made changes to its public administration and public procurement organization, and implemented an array of legal acts and amendments. Consequently, in 2009 Lithuania for the first time scored five points out of ten in the Transparency’s International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and came in the 46th place among 178 countries. This time Lithuania is one of nine countries to have made the most progress on the CPI 2009 in comparison to that of the previous year. Thus, Lithuania has approached the 5-point threshold, which indicates that a country is capable of dealing with corruption. However, at the end it might be declared, that even though Lithuania has improved its position in 2009’s CPI, experts have showed some trust in the Lithuania’s anticorruption laws, the practical problems of enforcing this legislation remains.
2. The role of the National Audit Office of the Republic of Lithuania (NAOL) in the fight against corruption
When speaking about the role of the supreme audit institution in the fight against corruption, it should be noted that it is not a primary responsibility of the auditors to prevent corruption. Though, corruption may take many different manifestations like bribery, fraud, and etc., terefore, National Audit Office of the Republic of Lithuania (NAOL) is involved in to the action. Namely through the nature of its duties – the units of NAOL carry out financial and performance audits at the entities within the area of their competence (domains mostly refering to the state and municipal budgets) – auditors have an imporatant role in fighting corruption. First and foremost by merely collecting information and investigating violations of the legal acts. Secondly, auditors are playing an important role in preventing fraud and corruption by examining financial statements, conducting performance audits and making recommendations to the audited entities, as well as informing the public at large and raising public awareness so that the society would not tolerate corruption. It should be underlined that NAOL is no longer conducting enquiries and investigations (since 2001), but it is still taking part in the investigation of violations of the legal acts. Having detected material or permanent violations of public interest at the audited entities, the NAOL submits the working papers of the audit to the competent law enforcement authority. Accordingly, in order to ensure closer relationships with the bodies involved in the fight against corruption, safe time and avoid confusions the NAOL has signed cooperation agreements with all the major parties in interest in combating corruption (e.g. Special Investigation Service; General Prosecutor’s Office; and the Police). In such a way, NAOL fights corruption in a systematic way and aims to eliminate both the consequences and the causes of corruption.
3. The National Anti-Corruption Program of the Republic of Lithuania and the Role of NAOL
As it is mentioned above, the Parliament and the government of Lithuania since the yearly 90s adopted a number of anti-corruption laws outlining specific measures for fighting corruption. One of the most significant of them was the National Anti-Corruption Program of the Republic of Lithuania (NAP), which was ratified in January 2002 and laid out a course of action for the next five years. The purpose of the NAP is to assure a long-term, effective, and focused corruption control and prevention system in Lithuania. NAOL evaluated organization of implementation of the NAP in 2008 and stated that anticorruption programme did not bear all the expected results due to several reasons like insufficient and inadequate measures, lack of implementation control, potential of institutions and organizations financed from the state budget in combating corruption not fully exploited, further development of the relevant legal base at the state level not consistent and delayed without a sufficient reason, etc. Consequently, NAP has been updated and approved by a parliamentary resolution in 2009, with a new action plan outline for 2009–2010. In 2010 NAOL released its own report on implementation of recommendations on the NAP, in which it declared-assured that more or less its recommendations have been implemented completely.
Source: The World Bank Department of Institutional Integrity
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QUESTION #11 FROM OUR SURVEYS
- A review of the literature on ACAs indicates that there is no standard approach or model when it comes to the establishment of an ACA and the definition of its mandate.
- Some ACAs have been created from scratch, while others have built on existing ombudsman offices, special units within police departments, or justice departments.
- The ACAs included in this initiative are no different. The majority of ACAs have some preventive and investigating functions, but prosecution is carried out by less than half.
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OF COUNTRIES HAVE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAWS
FROM OUR COUNTRY CROSS-ANALYSIS
The existence of anti-corruption laws is the first step in addressing corruption and creating an enabling environment for ACAs to operate effectively. Anti-corruption laws and regulations such as freedom of information, conflict of interest legislation, whistle-blower protection and financial disclosure, can facilitate the investigative and prosecution functions of ACAs.
For this reason, many countries have introduced this type of laws, as the data collected highlights. This may appear encouraging for the seemingly widespread existence of a comprehensive legal system in support of ACAs activities. It is however important to stress that the data presented capture the existence of the laws (“de jure” system) and not whether the laws are implemented (“de facto”).