405 million lei in 12 months: this is the estimated volume of bribes, according to a UNDP research

Corruption is qualified as a very serious issue by every third citizen and one third of businesses. Every second person considers that there is no public institution in the Republic of Moldova that is not corrupt. These are some of the conclusions of the Impact Assessment Study of the National Integrity and Anticorruption Strategy conducted by CIVIS - Center for Analysis and Sociological, Politological and Psychological Investigations. The research was commissioned by UNDP Moldova, within a project funded by Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The data in the report were collected from 14 November 2017 till 1 February 2018. The CIVIS study was based on three national representative surveys for the following target groups: the general population aged 18 and over, with a sample of 1,103 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 3%; representatives of business, with a sample of 504 enterprises, with a margin of error of +/- 4.5% and public servants in the central and local public administration (ministries, offices, agencies, district administration and mayoralties) on a sample of 611 respondents, with a margin of error of +/- 4%.

At least half of the population or the business representatives declares that the following institutions are quite or very corrupt: political parties, medical institutions, Customs Service, Parliament, Government/Ministries, police, courts of law, General and Territorial Prosecutor's Offices, Border Police. In population’s perception, the level one local public authorities and anti-incendiary inspections are free of corruption, while in the opinion of the businesses - banks, NGOs, the National House of Social Insurance and the National Medical Insurance Company.

According to the survey’s data, the average frequency of bribes offered to the representatives of the public institutions with which the respondents interacted was 3.7 times for the general population and 6.1 for the economic agents. "In other words, on average a person offered a bribe 3.7 times, and an economic agent offered a bribe 6.1 times to one or more public entities within a year," explains Ruslan Sintov, director of the CIVIS Center.

The estimated volume of bribes (in cash and goods) offered within the 12 months of the study period was of 278 million lei from the general population and 127 million lei from economic agents. The minimum and maximum values ​​of informal payments ranged between 100 lei and 500,000 lei for business representatives and between 50 lei and 8,000 lei for the general population. In the case of population, 71% of the estimated volume of reported bribes accounted for medical institutions, 8% for educational institutions and 5% for justice courts.

Thus, the total amount of the bribe was 405 million lei. "This would mean a value similar to the Balti municipality budget approved for 2017, which is 430 million lei, or 2.28 times higher than the expenditures for environmental protection for 2018, amounting to 176.6 million lei, or 2/3 of the expenditures for national defense, amounting to 629 million lei", explains Ruslan Sintov, director of the CIVIS Center.

Most public officials confirm that incidents of integrity occur in public institutions, but they are usually sanctioned. The perception of the population and the business representatives is different: most of them are convinced that insufficient action is currently taken to discourage the involvement of public officials in acts of corruption, and cases where punishment is applied are extremely rare. According to the opinions of 78% of the population and 68% of the businesses, they are rarely/very rarely/never punished by their superiors for acts of corruption.

In this context, the fight against corruption in the Republic of Moldova is considered as inefficient/not very efficient (by 82% of the population and by 75% of the business).

The study finds that the incidence of corruption disclose is very low. Both public agencies and the population and businesses prefer not to report corruption, because they feel unprotected when disclosing such cases. Thus, 4 out of 5 respondents have not disclose corruption actions that they noticed in the last 12 months.

Respondents have a negative attitude towards informal payments and, as a rule, do not appeal to unofficial problem-solving methods when interacting with public agents (73% of the population and 76% of businesses).

However, the study shows a low level of stability of anti-corruption values ​​among the population and business representatives: only 45% of the general population and 61% of the economic entities consider corruption unacceptable. In the case of the population, the level of stability of anti-corruption values ​​is higher for older persons (53%), residents of the Central region (54%), persons who never faced acts of corruption (51%).

On the other hand, both the general population and the business representatives are aware that bribery leads to the punishment of both parties involved.

As for the trust in the National Anticorruption Center (NAC), 4 out of 10 Moldovans and each second business representative mentioned that he has "enough trust/very high trust" and "some trust". Similarly, 99% of the population and 100% of businesses know about NAC’s activity. The preferred way most respondents (66% of the population and 65% of businesses) to report corruption acts is the national anticorruption line.

Report data will be used as baseline for assessing the impact of the National Integrity and Anti-Corruption Strategy (NIACS) 2017-2020.