30.05.2013

New Anti-Corruption Strategy Focuses on Government Offices

The Ministry of Justice has completed a new strategy paper to combat corruption, centering on increasing transparency in state institutions by making a number of databases accessible to all.

“Public institutions submit annual reports, including ones on economic activity. The problem is that the content of these reports is not be easily monitored nor analyzed. To make data more available, we plan to use existent IT solutions. For example, if a resident of a local municipality or city wants to find out who the local government has signed contracts with, then that can be done via a data system,” Mari-Liis Sööt, who drew up the strategy, told ERR radio on Wednesday.

Another idea is to disclose the cost, to the state, of people's medical treatment to the individuals receiving the services, said Sööt.

The strategy has outlined 79 such ideas, while declaring a goal to turn Estonia into one of the top 15 least corrupt nations. Last year, Estonia placed 32nd in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

The strategy will not deal with crimes directly, focusing on prevention and education.

According to the last corruption study, complied in 2010 by the Justice Ministry and University of Tartu, 18 percent of Estonians said they had been offered bribes and 4 percent had given bribes.

The most common situations in which people come across corruption, according to the study, are during vehicle technical inspections and while talking to doctors or the police. Kindergartens and universities were also mentioned in the report.