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Government to introduce anti-corruption package

Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai announced on Sunday that the government would soon submit a package of anti-corruption bills to parliament aimed at encouraging increased reporting of illicit activity and instituting stricter penalties for those found guilty of corruption.

The prime minister said the government's anti-corruption bills would come into effect on January 1, 2010.

Bajnai commented that the government's package is based on US laws providing those who report corruption with legal assistance and financial compensation in the event that they lose their jobs as a result of exposing such activity. The prime minister added that those reporting corruption would be eligible to receive up to 10% of the amount of any consequent fines as a reward.

Bajnai said the government's anti-corruption package includes a proposal to establish a Public Procurement and Public Interest Protection Office to engage in oversight of public tenders, noting that one of the bills stipulates a fine of up to double the amount of material benefits acquired through unfair advantages accorded in the process of public procurement.

Ministry of Justice and Law Enforcement state secretary Dezső Avarkeszi remarked that the government package proposes overhauling Hungary's public-sphere ethical codex and enhancing punishment for corruption contained in the penal code.

A spokesman for Hungary's main opposition-party Fidesz said that the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) and the “Gyurcsány-Bajnai” government are the most corrupt “company” in Hungary and the Socialists would do more to stem corruption in the country if they withdraw from power as soon as possible. Smaller opposition party MDF said the first step any anti-corruption effort should be investigating “the joint affaires” of the Fidesz and the MSZP. (MTI-ECONEWS)