Restricting Corruption in a Transition Society (Legal Aspects)

The goals of the projects were: to identify the most corruption-sensitive areas in Estonia; to find the most efficient legal means to restrict corruption; to offer solutions increasing the transparency of decision-making. The project identified and analysed legal aspects of restricting corruption. Other countries’ experience and its possible applications in Estonia were summarised in the course of the project.

Study: „Access to the Public Information in Estonia“

The aim of the study was to analyze access to public information in Estonia. The Public Information Act (2000) was analyzed by comparing it with the relevant legislation of other countries. Four hundred requests for information were sent out to various public institutions and the responses to the request were analyzed.

Development of Local Governments’ Public Internal Financial Control (PIFC) System

The objective of this project was to enhance the strategic management capacity of public administration at local government’s level and improve sound financial management of public funds.

The specific objective of the project was to introduce and develop the functionally independent internal control and audit systems in local governments of Estonia, in order to meet the EU requirements on PIFC.

Activities

Training (members of municipal councils and municipal administrations of large and medium-sized local governments to facilitate implementing internal audit functions) and analyzing and evaluating the existing legislation concerning PIFC in local governments.

Evaluation

 A questionnaire provided answers concerning the present establishment of internal audit within local governments. Amongst ca. 240 local governments 25 had been chosen by the Estonian authorities in a representative manner respecting different sizes of local governments, small, medium and large ones for example Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu.

Corruption research 2004

The objective of this project was to map perceptions of corruption. The research sample was 1000 respondents. Among the findings: 68% of respondents sensed bribery as a usual phenomenon. Bribery is tolerated more by men. Respondents’ opinion was that the most corruption can be found in public administrations and private sector communication. In the opinion of the respondents the most corrupted areas are administrations, the police, the justice system and the customs.

Transparency Through Awareness

The aim of the project was to analyze the publication and transparency of the resources of EU structural funds and to achieve more transparency in the relevant decision-making process and the consultation with the civil organizations in these processes. A distinct part of the project dealt with the role of media in designing the aims of the project.

Curbing system leakages: the health sector and licensing in Estonia

The Baltics social audit measured the public’s perception of the social phenomenon of corruption and their concrete experience with corrupt practices in the health care and licensing sectors. Final sample was 3388 households, 7526 people. The goal was to help reduce system leakages that result from petty corruption and to suggest actionable steps to improve the situation in the health and licencing sectors.

Results

  • Licensing 91% of applicants paid for the licence/permit.
  • 8% of applicants gave unofficial payment or gift for licence/permit.
  • Mostly paid inspector or admin staff Rating of government health services and perception of corruption in the services – corruption high/v high – 33% and Corruption not high/v high – 38%
  • Suggestions for change to government health services – 39% willing to pay to have the change in government health services.
  • Suggestions for change to family doctor services – 31% willing to pay for the change in family doctor service.
  • Suggestions for change to specialist doctor services – 40% willing to pay for the change in specialist doctor services. 59% of households answered they would be willing to pay to avoid a waiting list for surgery or other hospital treatment.

Reducing Corruption in Estonia

The objective of the survey was to fit answers to the following questions:
1) how is corruption defined and to what extent it is condemned;
2) how far spread is corruption in the opinion of the respondents;
3) how frequent is exposure to corruption and what are the situations of potential exposure
4) what is the readiness to report cases of corruption;
5) what is the potential material and moral damage caused by corruption?

The survey was carried out in December 2004 in three parts: interviews with the general population of Estonia (1002 respondents, one-on-one interviews), entrepreneurs (503 respondents, telephone interviews) and employees of the public sector (901 respondents, internet interviews).

Enhancing Whistleblower Protection

The main objective of the report was to analyse the Estonian legal framework on whistleblower protection as well as its application. The report consists of 5 chapters. The first chapter gives an overview of whistleblower protection rules and their practical application. The Estonian cultural context, especially its transitional background (still existing influence of Soviet system) as well as the small society characteristics-these are the points discussed. The second chapter focuses on the evaluation of the extent of whistleblower protection ruled regarding the scope of whistleblower legislation, disclosure channels, remedies etc. The final chapter lists key results as well as recommendations made based on the analysis as well as key informant interviews.

Corruption in Estonia: analyzing 3 different target groups 2004

The Survey ‘Corruption in Estonia’: analyzing 3 different target groups was first time carried out 2004. The objective of the survey “Corruption in Estonia: a survey of three target groups”” was to find answers to the following questions:

1) how is corruption defined and to what extent it is condemned;

2) how far spread is corruption in the opinion of the respondents;

3) how frequent is exposure to corruption and what are the situations of potential exposure;

4) what is the readiness to report cases of corruption;

5) what is the potential material and moral damage caused by corruption?

The survey was carried out in December 2004 in three parts:

  • interviews with the general population of Estonia (1002 respondents, one-on-one interviews),
  • entrepreneurs (503 respondents, telephone interviews) and
  • employees of the public sector (901 respondents, internet
    interviews).

Establishing Civil Society Network Fighting Against Corruption

Long-term goals: 1) To raise general awareness in corruption area of society, 2) Activating anti-corruption activity- conclusion of different organisations, unions, institutions to concrete anti-corruption activities, 3). Creating clearly formed and active negative attitude towards corruption in Estonia. Implementation: Transparency International Estonia (Korruptsioonivaba Eesti)

Corruption in Estonia: analyzing 3 different target groups 2006

The Survey Corruption in Estonia: analyzing 3 different target groups at the first time was carried out 2004. In autumn 2006 the second survey was carried out. The objective of the survey was to fit answers to the following questions (and to communicate results via public debate):

1. How big problem is corruption in the opinion of the respondents
2.how is corruption defined and to what extent it is condemned

3.how far spread is corruption

4. how frequent is contact with corruption

5.how receptive are people to corruption

6. what is the potential damage caused by corruption

The survey was carried out in three parts: interviews with the general population of Estonia (503), entrepreneurs (500) and employees of the public sector (1321).

Results

Corruption was considered a problem by almost three-fourths of the population of Estonia and one-fourth of entrepreneurs.

Employees of the public sector are less tolerant of corruption.

Estonians are also less tolerant of corruption in comparison with other nationalities.

Corruption is considered to be more widespread in Tallinn. 3% of the people of Estonia and 12% of entrepreneurs have given a bribe.

15% of the entrepreneurs claim that they have been asked for a bribe.

14% of the population, 20% of entrepreneurs and 4% of public sector employees have experienced some form of corruption.

People admit very little of corruption, because they believe that it would be very difficult to prove and do not want to create further problems.

Perception of the spread of corruption and the reliability of state institutions are related phenomena.

Estonian Courts

The project had two phases. The aim of the first phase of the project was to get information on how citizen-friendly and comprehensible are the courts of justice in Estonia. The initial analysis was based on the questionnaires filled in by the volunteer observers who attended the court sessions. The second phase of the project was concentrated on a legal analysis of corruption related cases handled in Estonian courts in the period of years 2002-2008 handled in Estonian courts in the period of years 2002-2008.

The main goal of this project was to analyze corruption cases handled in courts, in order to determine the areas that need more comprehensive attention independent from the authority of the state. The main question that this projects aimed to answer was as follows:

How have corruption crimes been handled in Estonian courts in a period where corruption as a phenomenon receives more and more domestic and international attention? The project analyzed the ability of the judicial system to react in an adequate manner to the need to have more efficient control over corruption; it also tried to map the main shortcomings of this activity. The analysis is based on files of existing finished (archived) court cases of corruption crimes handled in Estonian courts in the period of years 2002-2008 and also on national statistics regarding crime.

The determining and analyzing of the court cases related to corruption crimes took place as follows. First, a query was sent to the Ministry of Justice in order to attain an overview of all handled and archived corruption crimes in Estonian courts in the period of years 2003-2008. 2 The goal of this was to receive an exact list of all corruption crimes handled in Estonian courts in the specified time period, available and classified as criminal official misconduct.After that, archived court cases were requested from Estonian courts and were reviewed according to the methodology developed earlier.

The following courts were visited in order to attain the materials: Harju County Court, Järva County Court, Lääne-Viru County Court, Narva City Court, Pärnu County Court, Tallinn City Court, Viru Circuit Court. A total of 282 court cases were reviewed, detailing 978 different crimes that persons were charged with. The study included 417 persons (accused at trial), divided into 387 men (93%) and 30 women (7%). The age of these persons was relatively high (median value being 40.5 years of age), exceeding significantly the average age of criminals, the latter being in the early adulthood.

Conclusions: The official anti-corruption activity of Estonia until now considers primarily the simpler kind, i.e. low-level corruption. The Penal Code now includes more qualifications of crimes considered corruption crimes. That change has taken place in various chapters of the Penal Code and this makes it more difficult to attain an integral picture of the amount and dynamics of corruption crimes.

Preventing Corruption in Journalism

Ministry of Justice and Transparency International-Estonia made contract in 2008 with purpose to map corruption extent in journalism, also to raise ethical and corruptional awareness. As a result of project there was carried out research „Transparency in Estonian (TI) Journalism“ by NGO Research and Training Center of Journalism. Research was concentrated on two aspects. Firstly there was analyzed how Estonian journalism is considering corruption and throught that is developing conception and notions of society. Second goal was to observe journalism itself as part of public government and possibility to be menaced. In addition one part of analyze is forming research about corruption and its connections with media in different societies by TI -Slovenian expert Simona Habič . In November 2009 there were trainings/seminars to journalists in Tallinn and Tartu about results of this research.

Corruption-Free Estonia

The aim of the project was to present the ways of restraining corruption in Estonian Radio (Vikerraadio). Eight broadcasts about corruption were leaded by Mr Tarmu Tammerk (director of by the Estonian Newspaper Association). The representatives of public institutions and nonprofit associations were invited quests of the broadcast to introduce their experiences of restraing corruption.

With Business Ethics Against Corruption

The goal of the project was to raise entrepreneurship sector awareness about business ethics and to help to develop business ethics regulations by economic branches.

The project started in 1st January 2009 and sought to explain both to the entrepreneurship sector and to the wider public how important business ethic are in longer perspective.

During project examples of Nordic countries were brought. Nordic countries examples will be obtaining with help of Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry branches and TI-Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, also Ministry of Justice of Estonia.

Organized crime, corruption and the movement of people across borders in the new enlarged EU: A case study of Estonia, Finland and the UK

This project investigated the problem of corruption by organized crime in relation to border controls and immigration using as a case study the Estonian and Russian border; particular attention was given to the issues concerning the ‘Development Plan of Border Guards’ and the planned cooperation in relation to Organized Crime and Combating Corruption.

Increasing the Awareness of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian public Servants and Journalists about Internal Audit and Political Corruption

The aim of the project was to develop the national integrity system of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by restraining corruption through the training of public servants and journalists. One part of the project was the dissemination of the principles of good governance and relevant information using Internet.

Increasing Transparency of the Democratically Elected Institutions by Educating the Members of these institutions

The primary aim of the project was to increase the know-how of the local government and public officials about corruption to intensify the anti-corruption fight. Three seminars dealing with different aspects of corruption were organized. The support group was formed to analyze the concept of corruption based on the legislation and work out the amendments to the relevant laws, to improve cooperation between different institutions and compose publication about corruption. In 2001 a collection of articles entitled “Korruptsiooni võimalikkusest avalikus sektoris”” was published.”