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22 December 2021, 11:48

Anti-corruption bill past first reading in lower chamber of Belarusian parliament

MINSK, 22 December (BelTA) – The anti-corruption bill has passed the first reading in the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus, BelTA has learned.

The bill was drafted by the General Prosecutor's Office and submitted to the House of Representatives by the Council of Ministers. It is aimed at increasing the efficiency of the fight against corruption, streamlining coordination of government agencies and other organizations in the field of corruption prevention taking into account legislative practices, proposals of the government, businesses and the public, best foreign practices, as well as international documents ratified by the Republic of Belarus.

The bill seeks to add a number of terms and definitions to the law “On the fight against corruption”. It also proposes to expand the list of persons who cannot get assistance from government officials to include spouses of children of these officials. It also establishes anti-corruption restrictions for public officials' spouses, close relatives, spouses of children or in-laws regardless of whether they live together or not. There will be restrictions regarding the joint service (work) of spouses, close relatives or in-laws not only in government agencies and organizations, but also in organizations where the state holds over 50% of shares.

The bill contains provisions on gifts received by a public official during protocol and other official events, as well as on conflicts of interests in connection with the performance of official duties by a public official. The bill regulates the procedure of handing over (seizure) of illegal property, interaction of government agencies and other organizations in the field of combating corruption. It bans a public official from using any state-run property in personal and other non-official interests; this pertains not only to the property received while performing official (labor) duties. The bill seeks to streamline the process of declaring income and property, to eliminate excessive requirements, as well as to increase the effectiveness of this preventive mechanism for combating corruption.

The responsibilities of government agencies and other organizations in combating corruption were specified.

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