{"title": "Bulgaria-Corruption-Survey","content": "
Corruption is most widespread among customs officers, lawyers, judges, prosecutors and police officers, followed by business people, doctors, the tax administration and ministry staff. This is according to surveys conducted by the Coalition 2000 Forum and the Vitosha Research Agency. One of the surveys is representative for the country and involved 1,122 people, Coalition 2000 Deputy Director Alexander Stoyanov, who is also Director of Vitosha Research, said on Wednesday. The second survey involved 320 public employees: doctors, teachers and university lecturers, public servants and police officers. The surveys were conducted between March 27 and April 16 and were compared with surveys of June 1998 and February 1999. The corruption table is topped by customs officers (73.2 per cent of respondents), followed by lawyers (55.4 per cent) and judges (50.8 per cent). Journalists and teachers are corrupt according to 12 per cent and 8.4 per cent of respondents, respectively. Corruption is a problem of public significance according to 34.2 per cent of those interviewed, compared to 38.4 per cent in February. Corruption is the fourth most important problem after unemployment (64.1 per cent), low incomes (49.1 per cent) and crime (39.1 per cent). Respondents gave three answers each which is why columns exceed 100. Society has become slightly more permissive to corruption, but also less susceptible to it, Stoyanov said. Pressure from public sector employees for bribes or services has dropped. Of the respondents who came in contact with customs officers, 27.9 per cent were pressured to give bribes. The figure for police officers is 22.8 per cent, doctors 21.5 per cent, administrative staff in the judiciary 20.4 per cent. Teachers and MPs trail the table, with 4.8 per cent of respondents who had contacts with them reporting that they demanded bribes. The main prerequisites for the spread of corruption are economic: 52.7 per cent of respondents say it is the get-rich-quick urge of people in high places, followed by low salaries (51.5 per cent), and imperfect laws (38.8 per cent). In April 6.8 per cent of respondents said corruption was one of the vestiges of the communist past. Corruption levels are lowest in the President's Office, the army and the National Statistical Institute. The Privatization Agency and the judiciary have the highest levels of corruption. Public servants said that members of the following five occupations exerted the strongest pressure for bribes on them: customs officers, municipal servants, business people, doctors and police officers. Bankers will be included in the questionnaire in June, Stoyanov said.