site.btaParliament Passes Two Anti-Corruption Bills on First Reading
Parliament adopted on first reading a draft bill on counteracting corruption among persons holding senior public positions, submitted by the Council of Ministers, and another draft bill on counteracting corruption submitted by Continue the Change, during parliament's regular sitting here on Wednesday.
The Council of Ministers draft bill received 113 votes in favour, 3 against and 95 abstentions. It is based on the need for a new investigative body to tackle corruption among senior public officials.
A structural and organizational reform is proposed, creating a commission for combating corruption comprised five members. Two will be elected by the National Assembly, while the other three will be appointed by the President, the General Assembly of the judges of the Supreme Court of Cassation, and the General Assembly of the judges of the Supreme Administrative Court. It is envisaged that the commission will be chaired on a yearly rotating basis, with the chairperson chosen by lot.
One area of work of the new structure is related to corruption prevention through collection and analysis of the national anti-corruption policies and measures. Another main line of action is related to the detection and investigation of certain crimes characterized as corruption offences committed by senior public officials. The investigation will be carried out by commission staff appointed to the post of "investigating inspector" under the Criminal Procedure Code.
The bill also proposes changes to other laws with a view to restructuring the current Counter-Corruption and Unlawfully Acquired Assets Forfeiture Commission (CCUAAFC) and establishing a new anti-corruption commission to limit the scope of the current anti-corruption law, with provisions to address conflicts of interest, public disclosure of assets of a wide range of persons, and forfeiture of illegally acquired assets. Changes are also proposed to the Criminal Procedure Code, creating the possibility of a judicial appeal against refusals to initiate pre-trial proceedings.
The bill submitted by Continue the Change proposes a structural and organizational reform, whereby the activity of anti-corruption and detection of conflict of interest is separated from the activity of confiscation of illegally acquired assets, by establishing a commission for countering corruption, and the current CCUAAFC is transformed into a commission for confiscation of illegally acquired assets. There were 138 MPs in favour of the bill, 31 against and 14 abstentions.
The bill establishes the figure of the inspector, who will investigate corruption offences under the Criminal Procedure Code while preserving the leading role of the prosecution in pre-trial proceedings.