On 9 December, Transparency International LATVIA (Delna) in cooperation with the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) held a thematic event “Corruption – a Threat to National and Global Security” dedicated to the International Anti-Corruption Day. During the event, officials and experts discussed the fight against corruption to strengthen Latvia’s security.

On the International Anti-Corruption Day, Mr. Jēkabs Straume, Director of KNAB, admitted: “Corruption does not distinguish countries and sectors, and it harms every member of society. This year’s geopolitical turmoil is a reason to highlight the widespread impact of corruption, including in the security sector. Strict internal control mechanisms, established reporting channels, regular staff training, the ‘four eyes principle’ – these and other measures are crucial for institutions to take timely and systematic action to mitigate corruption risks.”

At the opening of the event, Mr. Edvards Smiltēns, Speaker of the Saeima, said: “It is clear that corruption weakens the country. It steals our development resources, it steals our trust. But now we need to realise that it also steals our national security.” Mr Smiltēns also pointed out that only cooperation between policy makers, corruption fighters, non-governmental organisations and society can help make Latvia safer, stronger and fairer.

“Corruption undermines democracy and respect for human rights, impedes investment, stifles economic growth, hampers government services, and allows criminality to flourish. Moreover, corruption often provides a foothold for our most dangerous adversaries, who exploit vulnerabilities in our systems and hurt our ability to deliver results for our citizens, thus destroying public trust,” said H.E. John Carwile, Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Latvia.

“Without the involvement of residents and support to the civil society, effective fight against corruption will not be possible. We need to raise everyone’s awareness that corruption is not to be tolerated, that the use of entrusted power for personal gain is not acceptable – the public interest must come before it. This involves two things – strict adherence to ethical principles by public servants and whistleblowing,” urged Ms. Inese Tauriņa, Director of Delna.

The Director of KNAB J. Straume, Chairperson of the Saeima National Security Commission Ināra Mūrniece, Director of Delna I. Tauriņa, State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior Dimitrijs Trofimovs and Chairman of the Saeima European Affairs Commission Prof. Dr. sc. pol. Andris Sprūds discussed about corruption and its impact on the security of Latvia. Ms. Sarah Chayes, an anti-corruption expert from the United States of America, spoke as a guest lecturer about corruption as a global security threat. Whereas Ms. Olena Krolovetska, representative of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), presented NABU’s and Ukraine’s assessment of the impact of corruption on security.

Video recordings are available on Delna’s website: in Latvian and English -> or in English ->. Gatis Gierts photos are available in Delna’s Facebook album ->.

The event is supported by the US Department of Justice and the US Department of State. This event is made possible by funding from the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF). For more information about BAFF scholarships and speaker support, visit www.balticamericanfreedomfoundation.org.

For more information: ti@delna.lv

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