'About 30 People' Convicted In Russia In 2010 Over Bribes In Excess Of R1m

Man's Hand Stuffing Cash Into Inside Pocket of SuitcoatMoscow, 24 February: The head of the State Duma security committee, Vladimir Vasilyev, has said that too few persons who take large bribes are exposed in Russia, adding that in 2010 only about 30 persons were found guilty of taking bribes over R1m (34,500 dollars).

The average size of a bribe last year was between R500 and R10,000. A quarter of those convicted of taking bribes were representatives of the Interior Ministry, including traffic police, while healthcare workers accounted for another quarter. They were followed (on the list) by municipal and customs officials. Vasilyev said that these figures were mentioned at an itinerant meeting of the State Duma security committee and the Duma commission for counteracting corruption, which was held at the Russian Supreme Court.

Discussing the extremely low level of prosecutions against persons taking large bribes, Vasilyev said that the police should shift the focus of its work and start looking for criminals not just among "doctors and nurses", but, above all, "among those who have turned various agencies into a source of personal enrichment". The focus should be on the entire criminal chain, including intermediaries.

Vasilyev also noted that the courts increasingly frequently ruled in favour of citizens in their disputes with the government. "At federal level, about 56 per cent of all such cases are decided in favour of individual claimants, while at municipal level this figure is even higher - 72 per cent," the parliamentarian said.

However, he said, there were certain problems with enforcing these court decisions. He believes that a clear mechanism should be established to enforce court decisions, so that people do not have to fight for them to be enforced after the hearing.

The committee head also said that deputies from various Duma factions had spoken in favour of the State Duma delegating members of the public to the Russian Federation higher qualification board of judges. The current rules for forming the board provide for the Federation Council (upper house of parliament) appointing 10 members of the public to the board. Vasilyev said that the Supreme Court leadership did not oppose changing these rules if the two houses of parliament could reach agreement with each other.

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