In the Exporting Corruption 2022: Assessing Enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention report, Lithuania received one point for the initiated investigations, Transparency International Lithuania said on Wednesday.
Ingrida Kalinauskiene, acting CEO of TI Lithuania, notes that the country fell to the lowest category of little or no enforcement for the first time since the study was first conducted in 2018.
There are a total of 20 countries in this group, including Poland, Russia, Ireland and the Czech Republic, with a total share of 39.8 percent of the world's exports.
In earlier studies, Lithuania was ranked among countries with limited enforcement, scoring three points in 2020 and two in 2018.
In the latest report, countries were rated based on their enforcement performance between 2018 and 2021.
Lithuania launched one foreign bribery investigation during the period.
According to TL Lithuania, the investigation was into suspected bribery of officials in Latvia by a Lithuanian company engaged in the collection and disposal of blood plasma. Law-enforcement officials closed the probe last year because they found no elements of a crime.
"One point was given for one initiated investigation (...). This is a clear message that we are not fulfilling our commitments as well as we could, because this is the group of worst performing countries," Kalinauskiene told LRT Radio on Wednesday.
Lithuania was rated the worst among the three Baltic states, with Estonia scoring six points and Latvia moving up from limited to moderate enforcement, according to her.
Based on the findings of the latest study, TI Lithuania recommends that Lithuania improve international cooperation in investigating corruption-related cases, publish information on this type of pre-trial investigations and cases, and open the register of final beneficiaries in an open data format.
The anti-corruption NGO also recommends taking steps to raise awareness of the risks of foreign bribery among public and private sector employees, to better implement the whistleblower protection law, and to strengthen the prevention of money laundering.
Lithuania committed to investigating business bribery in international trade in 2017 when it signed the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
The convention has been signed by all 38 OECD countries and six non-OECD countries.