Transparency watchdog: Latvia's corruption cops should be seen more

The situation in Latvia is improving marginally in international anti-corruption ratings. The work of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) to prevent bribery is not visible, Inese Tauriņa, head of "Society for Openness – Delna", said in an interview with Latvian Radio on February 14.

Tauriņa said that KNAB's work has been unseen in public recently, and other non-governmental organizations such as “Providus” thinktank also point to it.

“We hear the word “prevention” in the KNAB's name and this word is quite enough to understand the priority of KNAB – to actively be in the public space with the flag that we are against corruption and we will catch everyone who wants to do something like this. But we don't see it, and that's why it's one of the most significant complaints from public organizations that KNAB's voice is too little visible in the public space,” said Tauriņa.

That's essential because the sense of impunity builds up when potential perpetrators of a crime know no one talks about it, said Tauriņa.

Instead of KNAB leader Jēkabs Straume answering questions in writing, he should personally attend interviews, speak to journalists, and attend events. “All the while, to remind you, even with his presence, that there is an active anti-corruption institution here,” the head of “Delna” pointed out.

At the same time, she emphasized that in recent years KNAB capacity has been strengthened and it could assume additional functions after the reform of the State Revenue Service.

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