The state, state system, democracy are very sick. The state is rotten by corruption and crime. The relations of business and authority are criminalized. Corruption’s negative impact has several essential dimensions related to its impact onto national security which is about several different aspects: internal political and legal, social and economic, foreign political and integrational.
The analysis of corruption’s negative impact in the administration, for example, includes the following reasoning of support:
- Corruption undermines trust in democracy in its capacity of optimal pattern of society’s functioning.
- Corruption contributes for criminalizing the environment within the country thus enhancing crime rate increase.
- Corruption strengthens the positions of the grey economy.
- Corruption demotivates the government administration in its attempts to work effectively for the social prosperity.
- Corruption has quite the negative impact onto Bulgaria’s image before the European Union countries, as well as before the countries from all around the world.
Corruption deteriorates the investment climate in the country thus cutting down the level of direct foreign investments.
Corruption in the political area in turn undermines state’s effectiveness since the established procedures are being avoided, resources are being wasted, employes are being employed and raised without any relation to their work whatsoever. Corruption hinders the economic development since it causes distortions and ineffectiveness.
In the private sector corruption increases costs with the value of the illegal payments, the value of the negotiations with the state officials and risk of disclosure. Even though some believe corruption cuts down the business costs, while avoiding the regulations, the prevailing researchers today are of the opinion that bribes make the state officials create new rules and delays. While increasing the costs, at the same time corruption distorts the environment while protecting against the competition the companies with relations while maintaining their relative ineffectiveness.
Corruption – significant risk to the national security
Corruption is significant risk to the national security because of its negative impact and disruptive character on the social environment, the economic development and international image of Bulgaria. Corruption practices directly infringe the normal functioning of the state, they damage its redistributive mechanisms and limit the constitutional rights of the citizens. In this light the high degree of public tolerance promotes the dissemination of corruption at all levels and creates prerequisites for turning it into norm that is perceived as generally accepted illegitimate one which is not in conformity with the moral values and principles of functioning of the developed democracies. Nevertheless, with especially high degree of public danger, as we already mentioned in the written work, are the corruption actions in the top levels of authority, which continuously erode trust in institutions and the authority of our country at international level. In addition to the difficulty of proving the wrongdoing because of its complicated character, comparable to „money-laundering”, another fact that is not to be underestimated is that disclosing the corruption at these levels has always been related to infringing especially significant interests and it is accompanied by sharp resistance that is sometimes capable of causing significant social quakes.
We could say that corruption practices almost always accompany or create prerequisites for other crimes and violations. In some cases an important factor is the trend of „crime predicativity”, related to the corruption activity of persons that take up senior state titles — the financial resources acquired this way would be utilized for re-funding and improving the real estate and material status of the persons and accelerate the motivation for committing new crimes.
In view of security what is especially important is the fact that the resulting vulnerable environment is favourable grounds for building positions of being impacted by foreign services, economic and other subjects with which to impact the process of making decisions that are important to the country in direction that does not correspond to the national interest.
As a result of the activities for counteracting corruption and observing the processes related to it, the main reasons behind the existence of corruption practices with the participation of persons that take up senior state titles, are the following: poor effectiveness and reliability when implementing the systems for controlling the execution (low size of sanctions and no perceivable consequences that makes risk acceptable and provides the violators with incentives); the difficult procedures for registering and licensing in the various areas; last but not least the guidelines and regulations that are hard to understand and necessitate the use of consultants; the poor selection, insufficient qualification and training of the employees; the unclear rules on career growth etc.
Below we have reviewed the corruption impact on the individual authorities and the economy being elements of national security system.
Impact on the central authority
The analyses and researches show that the corruption practices in the structures of the executive authority are most often related to the implementation of procedures for the assignation of public procurements. In this case we highlight the particular authority within the context of the topic and the following reasoning. The traditional schemes are related to manipulating the criteria for assessing the applicants under the procurements; groundless reasoning of urgent activities; monopolization of certain activities by limited number of companies; rotation of contractors; conflict of interest when it comes to composing the evaluation commission; contracting between the client and the contractor for increasing the bills of quantities concerning the construction and assembly works etc. The corruption behaviour is demonstrated on behalf of officials, as well as on behalf of the stakeholder economic subjects. In most cases there is tight involvement along the chain client-designer/consultant-contractor. Oftentimes the companies that are designers/consultants ensure entering contracts for the assignation of public procurements for the utilization of their services. In the capacity of division for the assimilation of the agreed commission calculations they use various sub-contractors. In many cases the announced forecast price for the performance of particular project is significantly increased and there are no clear criteria on defining it. The procurement is assigned at a price near the forecast one and this favours the contractor on the account of the government structure.
The corruption practices with the participation of persons that take up senior state tiles create prerequisites for the manifestation of risk to the national security that are about:
- Destructive impact onto the state system and democratic foundations for society’s functioning. Corruption deforms the basic principles of legal state’s functioning (supremacy of law, irreversibility of the punishment for the committed crime etc.), as well as the mechanisms for their implementation. An environment emerges whose reproduction damages continuously in the long run society’s potential to function and develop in conformity with the moral values and norms, which make up the grounds for the progress achieved by the developed democracies. The corruption practices disrupt citizens’ trust in the institutions in their capacity of guarantee for their fundamental rights and freedoms (equality before the law, equal conditions for doing business, right to protection etc.) and they could impact as ruining factor for the government sustainability at local as well as at national level;
- Derogation of country’s prestige before the international institutions. Significant damages could be suffered by the national security because of probable corruption actions that result in delay or default upon the Republic of Bulgaria’s obligations under the Treaty of accession to the EU thus predefining the start-up of penal procedures by the competent European structures. This is in effect to the utmost extent when it comes to such areas and activities like communication technologies, constructing infrastructural motorways and layouts, performing key reforms etc.
- Loss of national sovereignty. In view of national security what is essential is the fact the with their corruption behaviour the people that take up senior state titles make up vulnerable social environment that is favourable grounds for building positions of being impacted by foreign services, economic and other subjects with which to impact the process of making managerial policies and decisions that are important to the country in direction that does not correspond to the national interest.
Impact onto the local authority
Outside the scope of holding and performing public procurements, the most frequent corruption practices being performed by the local authority and the local administration, are related to:
- Formation of lobby in the municipal councils and the local administration in order to impact the decisions in the benefit of certain interests;
- Economically unreasonable dispositive transactions with municipal properties. In some cases the privileged ones are from the close circle of the mayors or of the municipal advisors and in order to acquire municipal properties they use dummies as well;
- Utilization of control or permit authorities for personal benefit (including issuance of construction permits, change of the statute of agricultural lands and coordination of projects). The participants in the corruption relation are usually at lower level in the official hierarchy and they could act upon their initiative with the cooperation or the will of the superior ones. The unreasonable delay when it comes to decision-making on the issuance of permit is usually an indication of asking for a bribe.
The corruption practices in this area being a significant risk for the national security are manifested mostly in the following directions:
- Corruption undermines trust in democracy in its capacity of optimal pattern of society’s functioning;
- Corruption contributes for criminalizing the environment within the country thus enhancing crime rate increase;
- Corruption strengthens the positions of the grey economy;
- Corruption demotivates the government administration in its attempts to work effectively for the social prosperity;
- Corruption deteriorates the investment climate in the country thus cutting down the level of direct foreign investments.
- And last, but not least — Loss of national sovereignty. In view of national security what is essential is the fact the with their corruption behaviour the people that take up senior state titles make up vulnerable social environment that is favourable grounds for building positions of being impacted by foreign services, economic and other subjects with which to impact the process of making managerial policies and decisions that are important to the country in direction that does not correspond to the national interest.
Impact on the judicial authority
Purposeful actions were established for covering up the performed corruption wrongdoings in order to avoid penal liability, including impacting and lobbying within the judicial system.
The condition and the processes within the structures of the judicial system are subject matter of increased public interest and special attention is paid to the presence of corruption practices. The destructive effect of corruption in the judicial system is expressed not only in violating the fundamental principles of the existence of legal state (supremacy of law, irreversibility of the punishment for the committed crime), and civil society (violation of citizens’ constitutional rights) but in hindering significantly running a reform with which to ensure modern judicial system for rendering public services that provide effective and fast justice. The elaborated analyses show that the most frequent corruption practices in the judicial system are related to the following:
- Activating lobbyist groups amidst the magistrates and ensuring employments and career development via payment. As a result the dependency of the people employed according to this scheme is being taken advantage of for the realization of various interests related to impacting the economic and political processes in the country. The ones which are especially dangerous are the non-regulated contacts of magistrates with persons from the active criminal contingent. In many cases the intermediation function has been performed by lawyers;
- Impacting the progress and judgments passed by the court for penal or civil lawsuits in the interest of certain persons. The inspections that have been performed concern particular whistleblowing on corruption pressure being exercised on magistrates, aiming at the finalization of pre-judicial proceedings and penal lawsuits in the interest of certain persons and circles, and significant monetary sums are offered to this end;
- Conflict of interest that impacts the resolution of lawsuits, pre-judicial proceedings and controlling the initiated prosecutor transcripts.
- Destructive impact on state system and democratic foundations for society’s functioning.
Impact on country’s economy
As we already mentioned, corruption hinders the economic development while causing distortions and ineffectiveness in country’s development. In general the researches of the economic characteristics of corruption in Bulgaria do not boast with exhaustive or numerous character. Nevertheless it is a fact that corruption is among the main hindrances for the economic development of the country. Yet we cannot answer the question whether corruption is the reason for ruining economy’s foundations or whether it results from its weakness. Most probably from both. The cause and effect between the corruption level and the features of the Bulgarian economic system is two-sided, dynamic and insufficiently studied. In this case we will point some phenomena as grey economy, contraband and corruption, which interweave and interact and at the same time it is certain that they undermine the foundations of the economy, hence they impact negatively the normal functioning of the state and the society in their capacity of elements of the National security.
Grey economy is a real social-economic phenomenon that is manifested in different ways within the economy of a particular country. In general, it deprives the state budget from inflows and creates serious hindrances for the establishment of market economy. The criminal alliance between the corrupted clerks and the organized crime that controls contraband and traffic channels, causes huge damages to the national economy. In other words these two phenomena in the economy are inevitably related to the corruption practices.
Undoubtedly, just like numerous analysers stated, the “shadow” economy is the malignant formation to every national economy. It “undermines” economic growth, realizes high profits on the account of the state and the society, violating the law while hiding taxes, avoiding fees and customs, accelerating the corruption scale and financial crimes in its striving towards “laundering” the illegal revenues. It is obvious that in these circumstances it is very hard to forecast the Bulgarian economy stands a significant growth potential. The longer the “malignant disease” called corruption remains non-attacked and non-treated, the stronger its metastases would erode the capacity of the Bulgarian economy to step on the growth pathway. In this light, elaborating and implementing anticorruption programme which is efficient and effective is mandatory prerequisite without which the long-term growth could not be achieved by some governmental programme.
Corruption creates prerequisites for the manifestation of risks to the national security in their capacity of threat to the sustainable economic development of the country and well-being of the population. The direct manifestation is about corruption practices that result in damages and ineffective disbursement of the republican budget, (here we could add up the encroachments on the financial stability of the Ministry of Defence and the Bulgarian Army and the corruption actions in them hide a special threat to the national security not only because of the fact that these are its basic element, but mostly because their budgets are the main cost item in the republican budget); competition limitation; creation of additional barriers to the business; ineffective utilization of the funds of the EU and other international programmes and projects to which Bulgaria is a party etc. In general this results in increasing the social price of the reforms to the Bulgarian citizens. In view of the social area a specific risk related to the capacity of significant harmful consequences, contains corruption in healthcare considering the significance of this strategic area to ensure the right to life and effective medical care for the Bulgarian citizens.
The criminal schemes and corruption manifestations are inadmissible in their capacity of main or parallel source of incomes, manner of thinking and behaving in the society. Corruption is not only in prejudice of economy, but is also compromises the democratic institutions of the state. It is a threat to the national security in general, to the security of personality and property, it hinders the development of democratic processes and free competition and messes up with the fruitful membership of Bulgaria in the European Union. All patterns of corruption activity, especially the power misuse for personal or group benefits, infringe the normal functioning of the state, the effectiveness of its redistributive mechanisms, deteriorate the quality of public services, violate the principles of social justice and limit citizens’ right.
Counteracting corruption in the Republic of Bulgaria
According to the National Security Strategy, counteracting corruption is achieved while implementing comprehensive measures aimed at the development of the inter-institutional approach; strengthening the management system; regulation procurement; administrative capacity; integrated management of the information resource; interaction and international cooperation and operational management. Additionally, the improvement of effectiveness of the operations performed by the local authorities and local self-governance is achieved with the inclusion of citizens in the process of achieving the objectives of the local self-governance. The institutions and NGOs work for the creation of sustainable attitudes and active civil position in the society to cut down the tolerance to corruption while taking advantage of the opportunities of educational policies and informational campaigns.
Part „V. National security system”, point 162 of the Strategy notes that: significant element of the national security system are the consulting and coordinating bodies to the Council of Ministers that perform operations in the area of security, public order, prevention and counteraction of corruption and for the development of the national defence industrial base. They coordinate the operational implementation of the state policy and provide the necessary consulting to the government and the particular bodies of government authority when preparing and implementing the decisions of their competency.
In this light, according to me an important prerequisite for counteracting corruption is implementing effective institutional mechanisms in the area of political system and civil society, which are based on clear and accurate rules.
Undoubtedly, the absence of consistently implemented political will greatly predefines the insufficient results of corruption counteraction. In recent years strategic documents were elaborated and are being elaborated and individual measures have been undertaken. Nevertheless Bulgaria does not make significant progress in counteracting this negative phenomenon.
Crime counteraction, including corruption counteraction according to the opinions prevalent in the scientific area are about the activity of the specialized government bodies, public organizations and citizens for counteracting the particular crime type (the ex officio crimes in this case). It consists of effective prevention of this negative phenomenon, disclosure of crimes and strong and effective judicial authority for punishing the corrupt ones. This work below highlights the prevention and punishment of corruption, being parts of counteraction.
Measures for corruption prevention
In general prevention means not allowing the occurrence of corruption. Prevention includes broad range of activities aimed at overcoming the reasons being the appearance of corruption or its limitation. These are mostly related to researching bottlenecks and risky areas for the appearance of corruption in the administration; with the improvement of the organization and the technology of administrative activities and services; with the improvement of more transparency in the work of the administration, as well as in view of the property status of employees in the administration; with the improvement of internal departmental and civil control.
For example, one of the prevention measures is the regular publication of reports and statements on the public webpages of the administrations, as well as the opportunity to receive administrative services online.
Another prevention measure is cutting down the administrative regulation as this will decrease the areas of increased corruption risk within the administration. Additionally, preventive measure is being realized via the transparent and public administrative procedures. What we should consider is that transparency in itself does could not combat corruption. The rest is a matter of civil position – whistle-blowing and alerting the enforcement bodies, announcing information via the media that they have etc. In order to make transparency work efficiently – being an instrument for counteracting corruption, it should be bound with the active position of citizens and media. In other words, everyone who sees that something irregular is being done somewhere, should help the state administration while informing – be it senior manager, or the police or the prosecution, if it is about asking for a bribe. Hence prevention mainly relies on the participation of the citizens and the business, for disclosing and overcoming the reasons behind the appearance of corruption. In the capacity of consumers of services they could, if the behaviour of state officials is not in conformity with the ethical standards expected from them, immediately note and alert this. The provision of the opportunity for this to happen immediately and on the spot in the administrative building increases citizens’ trust in the administration because they see a real result, an authentic small change.
Education is probably the most indisputable and successful means for counteracting corruption. Education against corruption means building a counteraction system that combines legal, moral and political arguments that do with all fears, benefits and statements on the inevitability of corruption. Education builds the feel of professionalism, of belonging to professional group, of realization of the essence of corruption and its consequences. Education builds up the state official – a good professional who does not violate the rules and does not take bribes. Not only because this is crime, but just because good professional does not act unethically.
On the other hand probably only education is capable of building the conscience that every employee in particular with his/her professional and civil behaviour could do absolutely everything to overcome corruption.
In this relation for example I am of the opinion that the published manuals are of great help since these are designated to students of the high school stage that could be included in the training under some school subjects. The objective would be to have an education that promotes establishing knowledge on the corruption in its capacity of negative social phenomenon and the development of students’ skills and competences for effectively counteracting its manifestation in their daily life as citizens. The achievement of this objective suggests improving the sensitivity of students towards the issues related to corruption and corruption practices in society; help the students in building their own point of view and purposeful attitude towards corruption actions; provide the students with incentives for behaviour that excludes corruption actions in the social relations, as well as building respect towards conformity with the laws, since this has exceptionally powerful anti-corruption effect.
There are several objectives of education in its capacity of measure for counteracting corruption:
- Achieve the level of awareness of citizens, which will make it possible for them to find their way in administration’s functioning, realize when it does not work effectively and when the reason behind that is corruption;
- Build professionalism and belonging to some corporate group, realization of what is corruption actually, what we are fighting against, how we are actually fighting it, in what manner every person could help for counteracting corruption;
- Every citizen should be provided with the means to understand clearly that he/she cannot do something against thefts and burglaries, murders and rapes, but every individual could do absolutely everything to overcome corruption. What it takes is not giving bribes — no matter how beautiful and improbable it may sound – so that there is no corruption in the country.
Additionally, what is essential to the efficient corruption prevention is the enforcement of the Codes of Behaviour and the disciplinary practice, in the case these are violated. Yet the introduction of numerous particular measures such as enacting Codes of Behaviour and rules for working with the citizens as well as the charging and punishing corrupted employees, seem to gradually change the notion of corruption as acceptable and unpunishable manner of “settling” faster and quality public services. But this change of perceptions is hard to achieve and it requires continuous efforts made by the people in charge in order to improve the public services area in particular.
Next the effective measures for corruption prevention are the following – improving the openness when rendering public services; management and disposition with state and municipal property; procedures for assignation of public procurements and for provision of concessions; management and utilization of resources from the European funds and programmes; transparency in the implementation of the procedure for the appointment of officials and strict conformity with clear rules for professional behaviour, assessment and development; assurance of full transparency when it comes to funding political parties and pre-election campaigns, according to the provisions of Political Parties Act (PPA); continuous training and improvement of the qualification of officials; improvement of the effectiveness in the operations of the control authorities at central and local level and acceleration of their interaction with the institutions for human rights’ protection; limitation of the opportunities for deriving benefits and legalization of revenues from criminal activity, as well as its funding, in view of decreasing the motivation and capacity of organized criminal groups.
Together with the abovementioned, it is essential to improve the mechanisms for collaboration with the law enforcement bodies of our foreign partners for effective information exchange and holding mutual operations.
Measures for punishing the corruption
The penal prosecution of corruption ensures the fair punishment for the corrupted ones, and at the same time has strong refraining and preventive action. Police, prosecution and investigation are the bodies that exist and that existed, one of their main tasks being namely – penal prosecution of corruption. Depending on the various types of corruption crimes, these should be investigated either by policemen or by preliminary investigators or by investigators.
In the case of certain corruption patterns, just like large-scaled corruption, penal prosecution is believed to be the only effective method for counteraction. Nevertheless it cannot operate individually for overcoming the common issues like corruption. The fact that someone, somewhere solely got in jail, would contribute significantly, since it will help building citizens’ trust in the state. It will help because citizens would see that something is happening and once they alert the police, someone somewhere actually undertakes measures and their behaviour was not fruitless. Outside the scope of this general improvement of citizens’ trust in the state, the individual sentencing of one, ten or one hundred people could not bring about drastic change of the corruption level.
Somehow, no matter how ineffective the judicial authority is, no matter how much we want to improve its efficiency – some people get in jail, some are sentenced, but this does not help us actually feel the change in the corruption level. Hence it is essential for the penal prosecution to be perceived as one of the three measures for counteracting corruption. It matters because citizens should trust the administration, help the police and prosecution, witness before the court, but penal prosecution in itself could not solve the issue.
Penal prosecution is the basic method for counteracting corruption in the area of political corruption or the grand corruption. When we talk about petty corruption, the methods for prevention and education are critical. They are the thing that could actually result in corruption decrease in some short- and mid-term. Nevertheless grand corruption is corruption where someone at top authority position, knowing perfectly he or she is doing a crime while receiving bribe – most often and despite everything does it — while violating the law. In this case the only thing we could rely on, is the penal prosecution with all its issues and shortcomings. What could we do, for example, in view of counteracting the abovementioned special corruption type in the topic — “conquering the state”? Once again the measures include transparency of the public figures; they include transparency and reporting when it comes to funding the political parties; and they include very clear rules concerning conflict of interest and lobbying.
Penal law, even if powerful, is just one of the means at state’s disposal for counteracting corruption. Too important and probably of utmost significance amongst the legislative priorities are the efforts for creation of such legal environment that would as much as possible eliminate the conditions and reasons behind the existence of the “corruption” phenomenon.
In conclusion it is worth mentioning that the classical measures for counteracting corruption should be utilized in combination and the particular actions include elements of prevention, education and penal prosecution. In practice, in our country the measures for corruption prevention and counteraction are bound in a system that covers the whole society.
 „Predicate crime” or also known in theory and practice as „Initial crime”. The convention of the Council of Europe defines the notion “predicate crime” – every crime that resulted in benefits which could be subject matter of the “money laundering” crime.
 Group of people that are trying to impact the others in the interest of social or political cause.
 Made public in State Gazette, edition 28 dated 1.04.2005, in effect from 01.04.2005.