On clean-up in customs authorities
The FCS of Russia has made, and is making no secret of the fact that corruption constitutes a serious problem for customs authorities. By no means, the objective causes, underlying the origin of this negative phenomenon, can constitute justification or explanation of unlawful acts, committed by individual officials of customs authorities.
We would like to stress particularly that it is question of individual manifestations, but not of a systemic disease of customs authorities. Of late years, anti-corrupt practices have been one of the most urgent priority activities of the Federal Customs Service. The following figures produce evidence in support of this statement. In 2005, on the basis of materials of investigation, carried out by internal security units, 530 criminal proceedings were instituted against customs officials (including 252 cases of corruptive nature), which exceed 80% of all criminal cases, instituted within customs domain; only 20% fall to the share of cases, opened against customs personnel by other law enforcement agencies. From beginning of the current year, 218 criminal cases were initiated based on investigation materials of internal security units (16 cases, based on materials of other law enforcement agencies), including 121 cases of corruptive nature.
The Concept of Development of Customs Authorities gives a priority to anti-corrupt practices and measures. Instruments of corruption control are diverse. They include ultimate implementation of IT technologies, allowing to neutralize direct intercourse of a customs officer with a participant of foreign trade and to ensure maximum in-process control over performance of a customs officer; furnishing of customs authorities with advance screening equipment, including inspection-and-screening complexes at border checkpoints; welfare gain of customs officers, who, as of today, remain the most lower-income and socially handicapped group of all other law enforcement agencies; and, by all means, preventive control.
At the same time, the uncompromising anti-corruption combat, waged both by the strength of internal security units and by other law enforcement agencies, by no means must reflect upon overall activities of customs service of the Russian Federation as it is and has always been a reliable assistant of the state in strengthening of its economic security, a major donor of revenue item of the federal budget, a reliable barrier to penetration of narcotic drugs, weapons and other prohibited items to the territory of our country.
The Federal customs service is struggling and will continue to struggle against corruption and other manifestations of unlawful acts amongst officials of customs authorities. But at the same time, it contests against blackening of all activities of the RF customs service.