Top prosecutor heralds drastic drop in corruption investigations in Hungary
The past years have seen some significant changes in how Hungary’s authorities handle corruption cases, both with regard to the number of filings received and the number of investigations launched. Atlatszo.hu reviewed the data to find that since the current government has been in power, the rate of early termination of corruption investigations has doubled.
It is becoming a general perception that if a Hungarian encounters corruption, there is no point in going to attorney general Péter Polt, since his office will in all likeliness ignore the case or do no more than the bare minimum to legitimize closing the case without any results.
Atlatszo.hu once more filed a formal request to review public information from the attorney general’s office. The requested statistics cover registered instances of soliciting and accepting bribes, as well as the abuse of the authority’s powers. The goal was to compare the figures from between 2006 and 2010 with the following period, when the current government came to power and appointed Péter Polt to begin his second term as Hungary’s top prosecutor.
The figures already show an interesting change in how matters have altered in recent years. The number of complaints in each category dropped drastically, by a third or half when compared to the 2006-2010 period. Atlatszo.hu wouldn’t want to offer a definitive explanation for a phenomenon that should be determined by experts. Possible reasons could include the actual retreat of corruption, or that the previous government was more effective in identifying cases, or simply that there had been less fear from repercussions in the past following complaints that were bound to be a nuisance to the establishment.
Even more interesting is the attitude shown by Polt’s bureau. After he re-assumed office in 2010, the attorney general’s office showed a 300% increase in the rejection rate of corruption filings. Even if an inquiry is launched into the few complaints that are left, closing them without any formal conclusion is twice as likely as before.
The original article in Hungarian was published on 6th February 2015.
Vote for Atlatszo.hu at Freedom of Expression Awards 2015!
Join the 4000 and donate to Atlatszo.hu to keep independent journalism strong in Hungary!