Armenia must crack down on corruption, according to a new report by the OECD Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ACN).
Established in 1998, the main objective of the ACN is to support its participating countries in their fight against corruption by providing a regional forum for the promotion of anti-corruption activities, exchange of information, elaboration of best practices and donor coordination. Armenia has been a member of the ACN since its creation and has agreed to undergo a peer review of its anti-corruption laws and institutions. In 2004, twenty four recommendations were adopted in a review report on Armenia, who has committed to implement them. To monitor the implementation of the recommendations, a group of experts from the ACN countries recently visited Armenia and prepared a report which rates each recommendation as fully, largely, partially or not implemented.
The report analyses the progress made by Armenia to put in place the recommendations made by the OECD during their last review in 2004. Among its findings are:
The number of convictions for corruption is low, especially for high-ranking officials, and more efforts must be made to investigate allegations and bring cases to court;
Cooperation between law enforcement and financial control institutions needs to be improved;
Greater transparency and a more effective monitoring mechanism is needed to cut abuse of the system for declaring gifts and assets by public officials;
Information requested by ordinary citizens and non-governmental organisations, and access to information at the local level, needs to be provided more quickly and fully;
To tackle the pervasive tradition of bribe-giving in Armenia, the leadership of the country needs to lead and support anti-corruption efforts, through a combination of law-enforcement, further legal reform and public education campaigns.
The report also highlighted a number of positive aspects, where progress has been achieved. Since 2004 Armenia has taken a number steps to bring its criminal laws closer to international standards. These included the adoption of a broad definition of public officials and the criminalisation of active and passive bribery. Money laundering controls have been strengthened. A number of steps were taken to improve integrity in the civil service, including a new recruitment system. Several public institutions have developed their own Codes of Ethics and established international disciplinary committees. Transparency of the public procurement system has been enhanced. However, many of the above measures are only initial steps in the right direction and much remains to be done to ensure integrity in the civil service and to reduce the burden of corruption in various spheres of public and business life.
The report (with full assessment of progress and ratings to each recommendation) is available at the ACN web site www.oecd.org/corruption/acn. As for other countries, Armenia will be invited to report on further steps to implement the recommendations at future ACN meetings, which are planned for 2007 and 2008.
For more information, please contact the OECD’s Media Division (tel. +33 (0) 1 45 24 97 00) or Olga Savran, ACN Manager (tel. +33 (0) 1 45 24 13 81).