Public administration and judicial leaders met on Wednesday to discuss how to bolster measures against corruption, head of Hungary’s supreme court, the Kuria, Peter Darak, told a press conference.
Representatives of the State Audit Office (ASZ), the Kuria, the National Judicial Office (OBH), the Chief Prosecutor and the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration assessed progress on an agreement signed last year to uncover, prevent and stamp out corruption.
The first task was to create codes of conduct which can give warning against practices bearing a risk of corruption, Darak said, adding that the project had been successful and should be continued.
He said experiences should be exchanged and efforts made to understand the various methods employed at different branches of the judiciary. A working group will assess these processes and file a report next year, Darak said.
Peter Polt, the public prosecutor, gave warning that corruption is easy to see but difficult to prove. He called for organisations to work together at all levels. For the past two years the Prosecution Office has focused on anti-corruption goals, he said.
Polt said there had been more than 130 suspects in corruption cases over the past 18 months, 70 of whom had been charged.
Laszlo Domokos, president of ASZ, said internal control had improved and the prevention of corruption-prone situations had also sharpened. The ASZ is focusing on its own transparency as well, he said.
Tunde Hando, head of the judicial authority OBH, noted as crucial goals ensuring the independence and impartiality of judges and creating a transparent, well-monitored public administration. She said prevention, rather than detection and sanctions, was the main goal.
Zoltan Kovacs, state secretary for justice, said the government’s anti-corruption efforts included drafting a new criminal code which contained anti-graft elements, the new property law and procurement law, as well as creating government offices at lower, district levels from next year.
Anti-graft watchdog Transparency International (TI) in its latest corruption index ranked Hungary in 46th place out of 176 countries surveyed, placing it in Europe’s bottom third. The most urgent tasks for improving the situation would be to pass a new law on party and campaign transparency, TI said. It also called for the judicial authorities and public prosecutor step up the fight against graft.