Majority of Latvians believe country is corrupt

  • 2006-10-04
  • From wire reports
RIGA - A majority of Latvians believe they are living in a corrupt country, shows a survey carried out by GfK Baltic pollster. The pan-European poll revealed that 81 percent of Latvians believe their country is corrupt. Seven other EU countries, however, are more pessimistic than Latvia, with Poland in the lead with 93 percent of its population claiming the country is corrupt.

The survey showed that 90 percent of Latvians believe the government is responsible for fighting corruption, although 78 percent of these doubt it can effectively do so. When asked about the necessity of bribes in everyday life, only 26 percent of respondents said that bribes were unnecessary. Almost 85 percent said that bribes were a part of everyday life, and 18 percent said they had offered someone a bribe during the last year.
The survey was carried out in May, polling 1,120 people in Latvia, aged 15-74.
Since then, the Latvian government has introduced a number of corruption-fighting programs, including educational films for state officials.

In late September, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau dubbed several short films on combating corruption into Latvian. The short films feature the most typical situations of corruption and ethical violations that public servants might encounter in their work. The DVDs also inform state employees about relevant laws and speak about the prevention of corruption and conflicts of interests as well as public service ethics.

Each of the films offers the protagonist a choice, whether to agree to a corruptive deal or to follow the ethical principles of public service and avoid the situation. The DVDs will be distributed to state agencies and the school of public administration for use in lectures and training.

Tax evasion violations for Latvian state officials, 2005

A total of 476 state officials were brought to administrative liability for late filing of income declarations, violation of the procedure for filling out and submitting of declarations and providing of false information, which is almost four times or 375 state officials more than in 2004.

Out of 476 state officials brought to administrative liability:
- 395 officials were punished with fines
- 70 officials received a verbal reprimand
- Six cases have been closed or gone uninitiated due to statute of limitation
- Three cases have been dismissed due to lack of substance for administrative offence
- Three cases have been dismissed due to other reasons.

Case materials for 41 state officials were sent to the SRS Financial Police Department for investigation, 32.3 percent more than 2004.
Five criminal cases have been initiated against state officials who failed to declare taxes, and two cases have been dismissed
Six criminal cases went uninitiated due to the lack of substantial grounds

Statistics from the Latvian State Revenue Service