A draft law to amend the Economic Penal Code will repeal an exemption for bribe-takers who reported the offense or confessed before being transferred to the judiciary.
The new draft, which was prepared by the Justice Ministry, amended the law to say a “briber” or informant will be exempted if the issue is reported to the concerned authorities or confessed before transfer to the relevant judiciary. The word “bribe-taker” or “beneficiary” of the bribe is eliminated from the amendment.
Justice Minister Hisham al-Shaer said that giving exemptions to the bribe-taker was a serious breach unrecognized by criminal legislation and not based on any legal consideration or justification. He added that according to this exemption it is practically impossible to punish major corrupt employees who pay more than 500,000 Syrian pounds after confessing to the crime in the preliminary investigation stage or referral after the issue is discovered.
In a letter addressed to the Cabinet disclosing the reasons for the amendment, Shaer added: "The penal text has become devoid of content, not to mention that the efforts exerted by the authorities, judicial officers and inspection agencies to identify corrupt civil servants will come to nothing if the employee confesses to his crime before being transferred to court."
Shaer believed that the amendment of the article will encourage bribers or interveners to report or confess to crimes in order for the relevant authorities to identify the bribe-taking civil servant and for the judiciary to then convict based on this confession, relieving the offender from public office.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.