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Law knowledgeable residents chill bribe demanders


There could be less corruption in Lithuania if its population were better aware of their rights and were defending them. Such presupposition is made by the STT officers combating corruption in our country.

„A citizen, who is conscientious, aware of and protecting his rights is a real horror to corrupted civil servants and officials“, states Audrius Bereišis, head of the Anti-corruption Assessment division/STT Corruption Prevention Department.

According to above officer, the conscientious people, who show active interest in finding out what are their rights and ask to comment on various situations where to their opinion the civil servants infringed the law, would curb the abuse of civil servants. The institution fighting against corruption is happy that the number of such people keeps increasing.

Annually about 800 residents apply to the STT to complain about the decisions taken by various institutions. A.Bareišis admits that sometimes not knowing the precise bureaucratic procedures the people hastily qualify actions of the public servants as corruptive. For instance, when one has to wait long for an appointment to a doctor, or when at some institution a service is rendered in an impolite manner or when a servant asks for additional acknowledgements or documents. However in most cases the residents are not mistaken when suspecting the servant delaying a decision of corruption.

„Definitely, the knowledge of law is directly related with the corruption level in the society“ , states STT officer A.Bereišis. According to him, the conscious behaviour of the residents is mostly determined by two elements –awareness of one‘s rights and knowledge of the administrative procedures of the state and municipality institutions. With presence of these two elements the knowledge possessed by a person would turn into practical action.

The STT officers also draw people‘s attention to the most widely methods used by the corrupted servants to camouflage their illegal activities, such as the regulations permitting closed or non-public decision taking, conflicting laws, loopholes in them allowing adoption of self beneficial decisions or creating exclusive conditions for particular persons.

Besides the STT officers notice that the corruption forms are also changing. Earlier the officials used to be bribed by money, then by expensive things, cars, later various services became popular and presently the return for services by the corrupted officers are securities, shares, real estate, jobs in political and state structures.

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