The phenomenon of bribery in Romania has a long history and is still a constant practice in the public sector – this is known, and has been analyzed by different Romanian NGOs for so many years. People are talking about their own experiences with different clerks, policemen, or doctors asking them (directly or indirectly) for little gifts or for money in exchange of their services, or for not being sanctioned on law violation.
Bribery in Romania is part of the so called phenomenon of “petty corruption”, which is largely known to be the daily misuse of officials’ power in their jobs as representatives of certain authorities, and whenever dealing with regular citizens.
We sometimes ask ourselves: what can we do about it? Is there any measure we can take as simple citizens? Well, we have investigated this aspect, and it seems there are some measures we can also take.
Practical measures when you deal with bribery in Romania
What you need to know is that, according to Romanian laws in force such bribery acts are criminally punished as part of the phenomenon of petty corruption. As part of the fight against bribery, whenever you are asked for money or for different offerings by any employees of the state, you also have at your disposal, and free of charge, a phone number which is operating 24/7. The phone number is put to every citizen’s disposal, so anyone can call and notify such behavior.
Thus, any public official, be it a policeman, any employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), or a tax office inspector, who is showing such behavior must be notified to this number. For example, if you ever deal with a policeman who may show a behavior of indirect allusions to money or other types of gifts in exchange for not sanctioning you for exceeding speed limit, or if you deal with a doctor who’s not taking measures that his job description obliges him to take anyway, the authorities are advising you to call and notify such behavior right away.
Any such behavior should not be tolerated, as corruption does not only refer to huge amounts of money, politicians or people with important positions in the state. Most facts of corruption are those of lesser value, those innocent “acts of asking for special treatment”, or “little gifts” that state employees are showing “openness” to receive.
So, the advice given by the General Directorate of Anti-Corruption (DGA) – a structure within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – is to act immediately when facing such situations. In practice, this means: asking the officer for his/her name and job position (which they are obliged to provide as part of correctly identifying themselves as representatives of the public institution), and calling the telephone number below for notifying the act of corruption:
Reporting phone number:
This call center was set up as part of a larger anti-corruption campaign of the Romanian authorities, called “You can bring the light!”.
Calling this Anti-Corruption Call Center does not cost you anything, it is free of any charge, and the number can be dialed from any fixed or mobile network across the country, and moreover your personal data will not be disclosed. Also, the service is operating 24/7.
The result your complaint can produce
What can be the outcome of such a call? According to the authorities’ advice, your complaint can lead to the opening of a criminal case, it can make a contribution to an already existing prosecution file, and in some cases it even makes it possible to catch the person asking for the bribe in the act, by a quick intervention. The authorities say that, as part of the fight against bribery in Romania, there was such a case in practice, when a policeman in Constanța was caught in the act of bribery after only 30 minutes after receiving a complaint call to the call center.
How bribery is regulated in the Romanian laws
As per the Romanian applicable law, any taking or giving of bribes are criminally punished. If the person who gives the bribe decides to denounce his deed to the authorities, he can escape such criminal punishment, but only under certain conditions. The competent authorities should be immediately notified about the bribe claimed by the state employee.
The criminal punishment for the bribe taker is established in the Romanian Criminal Code to a period between two and seven years of jail. Also in the bribe taker’s case, he could escape the criminal punishment if he denounces the deed, but only under certain conditions.
Romania’s position among other countries
According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for year 2018, Romania has not scored to high among other EU countries. More precisely, Romania has scored only 46 in the battle against corruption, while other regional countries, such as Hungary, Poland, Czech republic or Slovakia have scored much higher, within the interval 50 – 60. We can easily deduct from here that our country still has significant problems with corruption that need to be solved. For more details on Romania’s positioning compared to other countries, please refer to the Transparency International’s study results, embedded below:
More details can be found on: Transparency International’s website.
Are you aware of any abuses or corruption acts committed by state officials in relation to citizens? Please leave a comment below.