Inga Jaunskunga, Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau Organizations Financing Control Department Manager, Council of Europe Expert kindly agreed to answer the questions of Iravaban.net.
Ms. Jaunskunga, how important is it for the state anti-corruption body to be independent?
International experience shows that the independent anti-corruption bodies have made great contribution to the fight against corruption. Citizens saw that these bodies really function independently, gradually begin to trust in it and to cooperate. Our bureau is just like that. The Prime Minister can only cancel illegal decisions made by us, no more. It is important that freedom is not used in a negative sense. Financial independence is also important, that is the state should organize the financing of the anti-corruption body in a separate budget line, so that it can realize all its functions efficiently.
Please briefly introduce the functions of your Bureau.
Our activities contributed to the decrease of the level of corruption in Latvia. We are engaged in corruption prevention, anti-corruption propaganda, we study the corruption schemes, investigate corruption cases, and conduct statistics.
As far as I know the Bureau’s activities are supervised by the Public Council, which is composed of the members of 15 NGOs. In addition to these formats, are there other ways of cooperate with the public?
Yes, of course. People formally or anonymously tell us about the corruption cases that are known to them. The Whistleblowers Protection System is in place in our country. Since the department which I lead is directly related to the electoral process, I should mention that we had to recruit volunteers, trained them, and they were carrying out public monitoring of the campaign. In addition to the public council, we have a Council of Department Heads.
Is illicit enrichment criminalized your country?
Yes it is. The financial police deals with, but we cooperate.
Interview by Marat Atovmyan
Photo from Ms Jaunskunga’s Facebook page