Interview by Head of Voronezh Region Investigations Directorate of the Russia’s Investigative Committee N. Tretyakov to Interfax news agency

N. Tretyakov, Head of Voronezh Region Investigations Directorate of the Russia’s Investigative Committee: “We fight corruption together with authority, law enforcement colleagues and civil activists”

N. Tretyakov: “We fight corruption together with authority, law enforcement colleagues and civil activists”.

The problem of corruption remains urgent on both federal and regional levels. Nikolai Tretyakov, Head of Voronezh Region Investigations Directorate of the Russia’s Investigative Committee, Lieutenant General of Justice told to Interfax about the measures taken in Voronezh to fight corruption, about general level of crime and life of Voronezh investigators.

- Mr Tretyakov, what the main efforts of the Investigative Committee have been focused on this year?

- This year, as always, our efforts have been focused on fighting corruption, on efficient and quick investigation of crimes and their prevention as well.

- What crimes in the scope of your directorate are most common in the region?

- In general, during 2012 there have been more than 14 thousand crimes of different level registered in the region, among them 26% are serious and especially serious crimes - murders in the first place. Then goes intentional infliction of grave injuries (article 111 of the RF Criminal Code). The increase of such crimes is registered in Voronezh and seven districts of the region. There is also growing tendency of rapes and attempted rapes. Most of the crimes are committed by the people with previous police records (repeated commission) or intoxicated (the so called “drunk” crimes).

- Which notorious crimes were sold this year?

- First of all I would like to mention ending of investigation against four persons who for several years committed sexual crimes against small children in Voronezh and Veliky Novgorod. Now their case is forwarded to the Voronezh Region court.

Investigation is also completed of a case against a group of 10 people, including two former policemen, who in the period between 2009 and 2011, using forged documents sold in the territory of the Voronezh Region and other regions more than 25 expensive cars of foreign make hijacked from owners. As a result of a fraud the swindlers got more than 33 million rubles.

The case against senior officials of Rudgormash Anatoly Chekmenyov and Vladimir Yenin has been forwarded to the court. The investigation revealed that in 1999-2008 they stole the property owned by OAO Rudgormash and worth more than 82 million rubles using Russian and foreign phony companies. Working on the case investigators had to go abroad to get the necessary documents.

In addition, we forwarded to the court a case against a man who had been hiding from justice for more than 20 years. We are investigating a case against policemen who beat up the detained to get the guilty testimony. I would like to especially mention the case over inaction of officials at the board of Levoberezhny district of Voronezh to improve housing conditions for 93-year-old Nadezhda Sitnikova, a pensioner, a II group invalid, toiler of the rear. The woman lived in absolutely maladjusted living conditions, so we had to rent a flat for her during the preliminary investigation.

- Does the Investigative Committee adopt new methods or equipment?

- Of course, it does. We have recently had a cyanoacrylate camera which reveals invisible fingerprints on the surfaces which earlier were impossible to examine (for example, hand imprints on skin), a georadar improving efficiency of searching for concealed dead bodies. We have other devices facilitating the work at the crime scenes – laser distance measuring instruments, lighting towers enabling us to examine scenes at night.

Investigators and criminologists have two well-equipped mobile forensic laboratories, technologies enabling interviewing of “cyphered” witnesses and identification in the situation when the person being identified can’t see the identifier. We successfully conduct psychophysiological examinations using a polygraph or lie detector. And, for example, with the help of specialists of the Main Criminalistics Office of the Investigative Committee we can, if it’s necessary, restore (activate) memory of witnesses or victims who have seen some important things, but then this information was erased form their memory.

- What is in your opinion the reason for a number of crimes not being solved?

- Complexity of any investigation, in the first place and, which is quite natural, relates to the fact that a large number of crimes are committed not under obvious conditions, with aggravating circumstances, deliberately; sometimes criminals carefully prepare for the crime and try to conceal evidence and the number of crimes are concerning disappearance of people. All these are objective reasons explaining not solved crimes despite the measures investigators take. In addition there is not always a necessary level of interaction between investigators and operation officers provided and the forensic experts can’t answer all the questions of the investigation.

On the other hand, it’s not a secret that lately in both - investigation and internal affairs bodies – have had staff rotation, many of experienced veterans have retired, but their successors don’t have enough professional skills yet or even life experience.

- How does the Investigative Committee fight corruption?

- This year we’ve considerably livened the work to fight crimes against state authority and services, including corruption. We have forwarded to the court 51 cases, including 39 corruption ones.

In all, 231 corruption crimes committed by officials in bodies of authority or management have been solved. There have been criminal cases initiated against 18 people with special legal status: mostly over swindling.

We have efficient interaction with control and supervision bodies, agreements on cooperation with territorial offices of Federal Taxation Service, Federal Bailiff Service, Federal Migration Service, with local office of Anti-Corruption Center. We cooperate with Main Directorate of Internal Affairs, Directorate of Federal Security Service, Directorate of Federal Service for Control of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Circulation, Directorate of Federal Penitentiary Service, take part in Anti-Corruption Council of the Voronezh Region Governor.

Unfortunately, the result of hard and meticulous work of investigators does not always lead to deserved and just punishment of corrupt officials. The courts have acquitted a number of them and they were guided by unconvincing reasons to say the least.

This way, Leninsky district court acquitted Alexander Lukashuk, a prominent official of federal state institution Federal Motorways Office “Chernozemie” of Federal Road Agency charged with exceeding official authority during a tender for a government contract. The video provided by investigators to the court clearly shows how Lukashuk twists the sentence of one of the participants. However the court came down in the favor of the accused, who claimed that the video was forged, completely ignoring conclusion of a phonoscopic expert examination proving that the video was authentic. Eventually, the court considered all evidence produced by investigation insufficient.

The same court ruled illegal initiation of criminal proceedings against former head of Borisoglebsky city district Ivan Danilov. The same decisions had been made earlier as the amount of damage had not been established yet. When we had received the necessary information we finally could initiate a case. However the judge absolutely groundlessly would overrule the case. At present we are preparing an appeal on the possibility to revise the verdict in the higher instance.

Borisoglebsky district court acquitted former head of local division of OAO VESK Aleksey Kalimbet, charged with swindling on a grand scale using his official position. The evidence collected to prove his guilt were ignored or recognized insufficient despite the testimonies of witnesses.

Such verdicts give rise to natural bewilderment of investigating bodies and by no means promote efficient battle against corruption.