"Last year we nabbed a record number of corrupt officials while receiving or extorting bribes. We caught 9,425 persons in the act! 1,692 of them were convicted! This is more than three times as much as in any other year. It is true that the majority of them received suspended sentences. 107 individuals have actually got prison terms," Lutsenko said.
He said that the judges had been authorized to impose prison terms below minimum penalties. However, the Verkhovna Rada in 2015 decided to ban sentences in corruption-related crimes that are milder than the minimum penalties. Consequently, the Prosecutor General's Office is now checking how many of the 1,692 persons committed crimes after 2015.
"If we find some, and I'm sure that at least half of them did, then it means that the judges made unlawful decisions. And I promise ... that the prosecutor's office will initiate criminal proceedings against those judges who have made knowingly unlawful decisions,” Lutsenko stressed.
The prosecutor general also said that "even a suspended sentence is a severe punishment for a civil servant as he will be blacklisted and can never occupy a public post again."
According to him, punishing corrupt officials is "not the only and not even the best way to eradicate corruption."
"We will not prevent new abuses by detaining a bribe taker. Therefore, it is critical to eliminate the very incentives for corruption," Lutsenko stressed.