Corruption and the anti-corruption act
From his first days as an MP, the writer of this article studied how to launch proceedings as quickly as possible on an act to prevent corruption.
Attempts to get the Ministry of Justice interested in it were not successful. The worst part of it was that the ministry’s employees considered such a law useless. Fortunately there were other kinds of lawyers as well, and they were enlisted in putting the draft law into a written form. The draft law was introduced into the Riigikogu in November 1993 by the writer Arvo Valton, the chairman of a broad-based group of MPs, on behalf of 25 members of the Riigikogu. It was assumed on tactical considerations that if the draft law was spearheaded by Valton, the law would go through fairly quickly. But it emerged already before the first reading that the idea of an anti-corruption law had influential opponents. The common desire of many members of parliament to stop corruption was nonetheless so strong that a number of unjustified claims regarding the inefficacy of the law were refuted through patient explanatory work. Discussion of the draft law took place in both the legal defence committee and general session with Valton actively pushing the bill. He made immense personal contributions to polishing the wording and preparations for establishing the act. The act was adopted on 19 January 1995 and it was supported by 52 of the 75 members in attendance.