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STT successfully continues the Twinning project in Azerbaijan

The Special Investigation Service (STT) continues European Union (EU) financed Twinning project “Support for the Anti-Corruption Department with the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Azerbaijan” (hereinafter referred to as Twinning project) started in July 2009. More than half of works has been accomplished, the Project is to be completed in the middle of next year.

By implementing the Twinning project, STT is strengthening capacities of the Anti-Corruption Department (ACD) with the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Azerbaijan and providing expert services, consulting, organizing training and seminars on the improvement of legal acts regulating ACD activities, methods of investigating criminal cases, recovering property, improvement of skills for prosecutors, intelligence and operational activities, public relations as well as reports preparation and presentation, international cooperation and legal assistance while investigating corruption cases.

Seeking the smooth implementation of the project as well as to share the EU’s and Lithuania’s anti-corruption experience and assist colleagues in performing their national anti-corruption programmes, STT has appealed to the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Lithuania and the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau of the Republic of Latvia and requested these institutions to assign short-term experts whose competence complies with requirements imposed by the European Commission (EC).

All experts participating in the project are remunerated in line with current legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania as well as requirements of the Twinning project agreement and Twinning leader. Short-term experts of the Twinning project are assigned to the 1st class expert group, i.e. for one day of work as Twinning project experts in a beneficiary country they receive a remuneration of 250 euros taxed in accordance with laws of the Republic of Lithuania. In addition, from 10 July 2010 (amendments of the Law on Public Service on the remuneration of Twinning project experts took force) public servants are not remunerated from state or state budget funds for time during which a public servant participates in support projects and for which he is remunerated from the funds of the EU, international organizations, foreign countries.

According to Aidenas Karpus, the leader of the project (the 1st Deputy Director of STT), the implementation of the Twinning project agreement is advancing successfully: laid down objectives are being achieved, the Twinning project agreement performance Monitoring Committee has approved five quarterly reports on the Twinning project agreement implementation.

Such joint projects with a donor country helping achieve specific results and a beneficiary country undertaking to implement certain reforms are not new to Lithuania – after the accession of our country into the EU, state institutions obtained the right to support related institutions of other countries.

Having obtained this right, Lithuania has undertaken to ensure the smooth and efficient implementation of the EU Development Cooperation Policy as well as to share experience and knowledge through Twinning projects. Such projects in Lithuania were performed by the Lithuanian Customs Department, Department of Statistics, Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. The development cooperation in corruption prevention, detection and investigation areas (in line with provisions of the Action Programme of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania for 2008-2012) is one of STT’s international cooperation priority areas.

By attaching great importance to Twinning projects as being one of the most important and efficient forms for the cooperation of international institutions, the EC is particularly closely monitoring the transparency of implementation progress of Twinning projects. For this purpose, the EC regularly hires independent experts to evaluate the implementation of Twinning projects.

The Twinning project being implemented by STT was evaluated in June-July 2010. EC experts found that the project is being performed following all requirements of the agreement, activities are being performed in a smooth and transparent way.

Fulfilling requirements for the promotion of EU projects, STT launched www.twinningprojekt.info web-site specifically to spotlight activities under the Twinning project and to present all project’s objectives, main activities, to cover organized training sessions, seminars, visits of experts and Azerbaijani officials.