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Putin Calls For Tightening Control Over Russian Officials' Spending

12/12/2012 7:01 AM ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called for measures tightening control over spending by public officials and chief executives of state-run companies.

"Along with oversight regarding incomes and property, control will be introduced over spending and major acquisitions by officials, heads of state companies and their close relatives," he said in his state of the nation address carried by Russian media.

Putin reminded officials that the Prosecutor's Office had now gained the right to seize property amassed through unlawful means.

Delivering his first address after his return to the presidency, Putin urged the Parliament to support restrictions on officials and politicians holding assets, accounts, and securities abroad.

He said people who chose a career in the civil service must be ready to accept certain restrictions and must comply with special requirements, and stressed that this approach was standard practice across the world. "This requirement should relate to all government officials making key decisions, the heads of state and government, the presidential administration and their close relatives," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.

Putin insisted that overseas property bought by public officials must be declared in compliance with the law, its value declared and the source of the income used to purchase it must be shown. "What confidence can there be in an official or politician who utters lofty phrases about the good of Russia while seeking to move his funds and money abroad" he asked, and directed the government to create a system to bring back Russian money stacked offshore.

Citing experts' estimates, Putin said nine out of ten deals concluded by large Russian companies, including companies with state ownership, were not regulated by domestic laws. Managers' salaries in state-financed organizations must be linked to the quality of their work and their workforce's average wages, he said, adding that in some state companies, bosses' salaries were disproportionately higher than the wages paid to their staff. "This is not right and this situation must be changed."

Putin also said Russia should create a new model of state governance to make the state more efficient and fight spiraling corruption. Russia ranked 143rd out of 183 countries in the 2011 corruption perception index by Transparency International and was described as one of the world's most corrupt major economies. State purchases have become particularly fertile ground for corruption, Putin said.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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