Lithuanian citizens give a bribe consciously in nine out of ten cases. Just a small number of residents become victims of corruption due to ignorance of the fact that their certain behaviour is considered corrupt, state officials of the Special Investigation Service (STT).
“Corrupt behaviour is in practice voluntary in all cases. Variuos investigations and our practice show that residents understand perfectly that giving bribes to police officers, lecturers, doctors and other public servants or politicians they commit a crime,” said Vytas Rimkus, Head of STT Department of Corruption Prevention.
According to him, residents become victims of corruption due to ignorance only in exceptionally rare cases. “Generally residents confuse the concept of bribe with that of gift, thinking wrongly that a gratuity to a public servant after the service provided is a “gift” and before it is a “bribe”. However, laws lay down that a “gift” can only be a fact of a person’s private life, when a valuable object is passed to another person on some occasion without the interest to bribe. While a bribe is any illegal payment for action or omission in service. If it is attempted to name a bribe a “gift”, it doesn’t change the point,” explained STT official. “For example, the fact that a lecturer took a bribe not before, but after the exam, doesn’t release him or her from liability.”
Until the middle of 2006, the Civil Code provided for a possibility of doctors, employees and heads of health institutions accepting symbolic gifts with a value not in excess of 1 MSL (minimum standard of living). “Yet, this reservation doesn‘t exist any more today. Therefore, even a “gift” of a low value is treated as a bribe by law. We had some cases in our practice in which pre-trial investigations were launched when the value of the bribe was just LTL 20,” reported Rimkus.
“A person who commits a criminal act presuming that it’s not criminal is not released from liability,” warned STT official. “Besides, bribery places liability on the person who has taken a bribe, the person who has given it and the person who has acted as an intermediary in giving it.”
Residents who are extorted or intimated to give a bribe by public servants should immediately apply to the STT.
However, when a person is extorted or intimated to give a bribe and he or she offers, promises or gives a bribe, it still does not mean that he or she becomes a criminal. If a person voluntarily notifies law enforcement institutions of it before handing him or her the notice about suspicions of offering a bribe, he or she is released from criminal liability without any negative consequences for him or her.
Cases of corruption can be reported by arriving at any STT office, by telephone hotline in Vilnius (5) 266 33 33 or by leaving a message on this website. At the request of people, the STT guarantees the confidentiality of personal data and information provided.