How much does it cost to avoid trial?
While discussing the Law “On Amnesty” a deputy Syarhei Kastsyan explained that you could avoid punishment if you stole 3 or 5 millions and then returned the money but you couldn’t do it if you got a bribe of 100 USD.
The reason for the statement was the story of a 60-year-old head of rural district who got 9 years imprisonment for a bribe of 100 USD and cannot be amnestied and the recent President’s decree granting forgiveness to 22 people who committed economic crimes but compensated for the losses. Only three of them were refused it! ERB decided to find out whether it was easier to be forgiven if you stole millions then if you got a 100 USD bribe.
The head of the press service of the General Office of Public Prosecutor Mihail Vavula informed ERB that those who compensated for the losses they had caused could be released. Bribes cause no losses to the state so there is nothing to compensate for.
Mіhaіl Vavula: “The amnesty law influences only those who have compensated for the losses to citizens or legal entities. A bribe is not considered to be a loss caused by a crime so such people will not be amnestied. Their sentence will have to be served”.
The representative of the Office of General Prosecutor has found a legal explanation of the President’s decree.
Mіhaіl Vavula: “Reasons for granting forgiveness to some people are listed in the legislation, for example, art. 81 “Granting forgiveness in connection with compensation of losses”. The President’s decree only proves that those who compensate for the losses and cooperate with the investigation and those who help to find heads of criminal organizations can be granted forgiveness”.
A lawyer Vera Stramkouskaya considers the decree to be absurd and thinks that releasing criminals without any investigation is interference in the work of the law machinery.
Vera Stramkouskaya: “The thing is that the court stops any criminal prosecution after all the losses are compensated for and people are not punished, but they are considered convicts”.
The lawyer thinks that forgiveness before the trial lets people continue working on their posts. They are not influenced by the “anti-corruption” order and the only thing they can fear is being fired for not corresponding to the position they occupy.
It turns out that the head of rural district should have better stolen money from the local budget. If she returned it to the state she could be amnestied. Bribery eliminates such a possibility.