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Alisher Tastenov. Approaches to the anti-corruption work

Currently, certain positive results have been achieved in the state anti-corruption work, and conditions for reducing the level of corruption in Kazakhstan were created. There has been a shift from dealing with the consequences of corruption to the elimination of its causes. However, in general the process of anti-corruption work is not efficient enough and needs a comprehensive system approach.

By analyzing the current situation, it should be noted that over the past years the basic foundation of regulatory and legal support in the field of anti-corruption was formed in Kazakhstan, specialized laws “On Anti-corruption law”, “On public service”, the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan “About the Code of honor of civil servants of the Republic of Kazakhstan” were adopted, and a number of industry programs aimed to fight corruption were implemented.

Reform of public service was undertaken, in which the optimization of public administration was implemented in order to narrow regulatory and permissive functions of the state bodies, and eliminate their duplication and ensure transparency of the process of lending, allocation of investment funds, implementation of bankruptcy procedures, etc.; also measures of disciplinary and administrative actions against public servants who committed corruption offenses were made more severe.

A special authorized body – the Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan for Civil Service Affairs and Anti-Corruption was created, and active international cooperation in the field of anti-corruption activities is being carried out.

With the adoption of “The National Plan “100 concrete steps to implement the five institutional reforms”, where one of the priorities is the formation of transparent, accountable government, and strengthening the fight against corruption, the work in this direction has increased significantly.

Thus, in 2015 a conceptually new law “On Combating Corruption” was adopted, under which measures on preventing conflicts of interest, which lie in the basis of corruption, were stipulated for the first time. Also for the first time the anti-corruption measures in the quasi-public and private sectors were reflected in the law.

Special educational programs for people and public servants on the formation of an anti-corruption culture were developed.

The Anti-Corruption Strategy of Kazakhstan on 2015-2025, whose distinguishing feature is the emphasis on the elimination of corruption preconditions rather than its consequences, is being implemented. The ruling party “Nur Otan” developed an Anti-Corruption Program for 2015-2025.

As part of the National Plan a state corporation “Government for Citizens” was created v in 2016 to be a single provider of public services to the population on the principle of “one window”. Currently, this corporation offers 530 state services to citizens, and in the near future this figure will increase to 583.

In 2017, the process of transition to universal declaration of income will start in Kazakhstan. This mechanism will allow tracking discrepancies between the officially declared assets and actual assets.

The result of the anti-corruption work is gradual improvement of Kazakhstan’s positions in the international corruption rankings. Thus, according to the international rating organization Transparency International, in 2015 Kazakhstan ranked 123rd among 168 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index. For comparison, in 2014 Kazakhstan ranked 126th, and in 2013 – 140th. Thus, over 3 years the country’s rating has improved by 17 points.

Major improvements in the ranking, according to the experts from Transparency International, are due to the undertaken reforms and adopted anti-corruption laws, access to information, transparency and accountability of government agencies, and improvements in the process of providing public services that were implemented within the framework of the National Plan.

However, despite the implementation of a number of conceptual anti-corruption measures by the state, radical change in the situation has not happened yet, since Kazakhstan still occupies a low position in the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Among the main reasons for this are the legal nihilism of the population, low level of anti-corruption culture, and the lack of systematic information work on the formation of anti-corruption model of behavior of citizens.

According to the interviewed experts from Transparency Kazakhstan, the main risk areas are the growth of citizens’ distrust towards the government, and the ongoing global economic crisis, which requires more drastic stabilization measures from the government, without which the growth of the shadow economy is possible.

Among other causes of corruption is the opacity of major national projects, which are often implemented inefficiently. Perpetrators can be assigned based on unknown principles, and not chosen through an open public competition. Thus, risks of corruption and various offenses, which may affect the economic viability of projects, emerge.

There are still corruption offenses in the sphere of education and healthcare that affect general population. The work conducted by public authorities and universities on the formation of legal culture among young people is often one-time rather than systematic.

There is an increase in business corruption. According to the results of a recent study of the World Bank «Enterprise Surveys», every third businessman in Kazakhstan during his activities directly or indirectly faces corruption. The reasons for this are the imperfections of the licensing and permissive system, a large number of control and inspection services, and the bureaucracy in public services.

Analysis of the anti-corruption work showed that the main role in this process was assigned to the state, anti-corruption activities were carried out with virtually no public participation. In this regard, at this stage it is advisable, along with the currently ongoing work, to focus on the strengthening of anti-corruption activities together with the population and the formation of an anti-corruption culture in the society.

The success of the fight against corruption depends on the citizens and their commitment to cooperate with the authorities. The willingness of people to report on corruption, their support for transparent government, as well as the creation of an atmosphere of “zero” tolerance towards any manifestation of corruption will significantly strengthen the anti-corruption work at the lower levels.

It should be noted that the Anti-corruption Strategy of the Republic of Kazakhstan on 2015-2025 years already contains the creation of the institute of public control and the formation of an anti-corruption culture. Therefore, at the present time it is necessary to develop effective mechanisms and instruments for their effective implementation.

International practice shows that many countries were able to achieve significant progress on the reduction of corruption in the public administration by taking comprehensive and consistent measures to form anti-corruption culture. In Western European countries, the development of anti-corruption culture is one of the main methods of counteraction and prevention of corruption since it applies not only to state employees, but also to the entire population. Anti-corruption culture is formed through the profile education at all levels and the establishment of public control.

The experience of European countries demonstrates that the implementation of special educational programs, and the widespread use of the media are successful in fighting corruption. Educational programs are introduced in schools and universities, and so are organized special training courses for public servants and citizens. The media plays a key role in enhancing the anti-corruption legal awareness of citizens, education of negative public perception of corruption, and at the same time is a constant reminder of the threat of punishment against potential corruption crimes.

The processes of the fight against corruption are accompanied by the active participation of civil society – the media, public associations and non-governmental organizations.

In general, enhancing legal culture of the population and forming of anti-corruption model of behavior must be a collective community project. Only in such a relationship anti-corruption work will be truly optimal and efficient.