MOSCOW, December 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the government on Wednesday to introduce measures tightening control over spending by public officials and heads of public companies.
“Along with oversight regarding incomes and property, control will be introduced over spending and major acquisitions by officials, heads of state companies and their close relatives,” Putin said, in his state of the nation address.
“Let me draw your attention to the fact that the Prosecutor’s Office has now gained the right to seize property obtained through unlawful enrichment,” Putin said.
Putin, delivering his first address after his return to the presidency in spring, urged parliament to support restrictions on officials and politicians holding assets, accounts, and securities abroad.
“I suggest you back the legislative proposals restricting the rights of officials and politicians to overseas accounts, securities and shares,” Putin said.
He said that people who choose a career in the civil service must be ready to accept certain restrictions and must comply with special requirements, and stressed that this approach is standard practice across the world.
“This requirement should relate to all government officials making key decisions, the heads of state and government, the presidential administration and their close relatives,” Putin said.
Overseas property bought by public officials must be declared in compliance with the law, its value declared and the origin of the income used to purchase it must be shown, he insisted.
“What confidence can there be in an official or politician who utters lofty phrases about the good of Russia while seeking to move his funds and money abroad?” Putin asked.
The president also instructed the government to create a system for returning Russian money from offshore zones.
“I instruct the government to draw up comprehensive proposals on this issue. We need a whole system of measures to ‘de-offshorize’ our economy,” Putin said.
Expert estimates show that nine out of ten deals concluded by large Russian companies, including companies with state ownership, are not regulated by domestic law, Putin said.
Managers’ salaries in state-financed organizations must be linked to the quality of their work and their workforce’s average wages, he said, adding that in some state companies, bosses’ salaries were disproportionately higher than the wages paid to their staff.
“This is not right and this situation must be changed,” Putin said.
Putin also said Russia should create a new model of state governance to make the state more efficient and fight spiraling corruption in the country.
“The main problems are obvious, this will not come as anything new – the state’s low level of efficiency, and corruption. Without qualitative, modern state governance, without high personal responsibility of those engaged in this area, we won’t be able to resolve the issues that confront society and the country,” Putin said.
Russia ranked 143rd out of 183 countries in the 2011 corruption perception index by Transparency International and was described as one of the world’s most corrupt major economies.
State purchases have become particularly fertile ground for corruption, Putin said.
“I’m requesting parliament to expedite the adoption of the law on the federal contractual system. Of primary importance is an audit of the efficiency and expediency of budget spending, purchases by the state and state companies, and also public reports on the pace and results of the implementation of state contracts,” he said.