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Sunday, January 21, 2018, 

Corruption undermines economy and rule of law: conference

Corruption undermines economy and rule of law: conference

Skopje, 10 March 2016 (MIA) - Corruption is a serious legal risk and a risk for legal entities in the private sector, causing significant consequences on the economic development by preventing long-term foreign and domestic investments, said Justice Minister Adnan Jasari at Thursday's conference on Compliance Management Systems in the Private Sector as an activity of the IPA Twinning Project "Support to Efficient Prevention and Fight against Corruption".

Jasari said the justice ministry is investing efforts towards creating a legislative infrastructure harmonized with all international documents in increasing efficiency in the fight against corruption.

He referred to the recently introduced Law on Protection of Whistleblowers, voicing hope it would produce positive results.

"Its goal is to protect whistleblowers both in the private and public sector, thus enhancing the fight against corruption and creating a better environment for foreign investments", added Jasari.

German Ambassador Christine Althauser said uprooting of corruption in the public sector would not be successful if private companies offering services to state and public institutions are not aware of the consequences.

According to her, corruption is a crime jeopardizing the free market and fair competition, and if it becomes endemic can undermine the economy and the rule of law, as well as cause poverty and difficulties for citizens.

"The European Commission has urged on several occasions that all corruption cases, including those related to high-ranking officials and politicians, are thoroughly and transparently investigated, in compliance with existing regulations", said Ambassador Althauser, adding the necessity for a non-selective approach and equal justice for all as prerequisites for a functional democracy.

She stressed that Macedonia, being an OSCE member-state, has obliged itself to guarantee the independence of judges and secure the impartiality of the judicial system.

"The recent statements by the Special Prosecutor's Office (SPO) over intentional obstacles by courts and other public institutions are disturbing and alarming signs that the country's judicial system is faced with a big challenge. At the same time, judges, public prosecutors and court staff have a remarkable opportunity to demonstrate their independence and professionalism in processing potential cases and high-level corruption and abuse of jurisdiction in line with European standards", said Althauser.

EU Ambassador Aivo Orav said corruption prevented progress, undermined democracy and brought injustice.

"In economic terms, corruption is the counterbalance of innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. It is well documented that corruption in business stimulates and enhances corruption within the authorities and the political system. Fight against corruption is one of the most important EU pre-accession requirements", stressed Orav.

This EU-funded project focuses on improving the anti-corruption legal and institutional framework, enhancing the control of assets and conflicts of interests of public officials, building capacity of anti-corruption institutions on prevention and repression of corruption, as well as improving the supervision regime for the financing of political parties. ik/12:52

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