The Head of the Prosecutor-General’s Office told “Construction.ru” how law enforcement officials defend the law and entrepreneurs’ rights in the sphere of construction.
The Deputy Head of the Central Administration of the Federal legislation execution and the head of the department for the observance of entrepreneurs’ rights of the RF General Prosecutor’s office, Alexei PUKHOV, answers questions from our journal.
— Mr Pukhov, improvements in business conditions, including the construction sphere, and providing for the protection of entrepreneurs’ rights and interests, are some of the priorities of your Department. What statistical data do you have concerning violations in the construction sphere?
— At the instruction of the President, the RF General Prosecutor’s office has organized the supervision of bringing regional regulatory acts to correspond with the exhaustive list of procedures in the sphere of housing construction.
Since 2015, prosecutors have lodged protests against almost 5,500 illegal regulatory acts. They have introduced more than 2,000 recommendations for remedies of law defaults. More than 650 officials have been subject to disciplinary action. In 127 cases it has been necessary to make authorized bodies bring regulatory acts into concord with compulsory requirements by judicial procedures, and 900 regulatory acts have been initiated. All these measures help lead to favourable business conditions in the sphere of construction.
— Construction business representatives often have to interact with state and municipal authorities. What violations of entrepreneurs’ rights may take place as part of such interactions?
— Prosecutors have revealed multiple violations of federal law in which entrepreneurs were inconsistently obliged to pass extra-statutory procedures.
According to the Rudnya district (Volgograd region) prosecutor’s, the opposition made illegal statements about compulsory permits for construction and capital repair work and were excluded from the administrative regulation procedure on the preparation and issuing of construction permits. Often, legal enactments establish restrictions on public services. Thus, in the Orel region a previously developed and adopted urban development plan was considered the basis for the refusal of a development plan for a land plot.
The term of permit issuance for the construction of an object and its putting into operation was illegally increased from 10 to 30 days by legal enactments in the Bashkortostan, Buriatiya, Chechen Republic, Ivanovo, Irkutsk, Kostroma, and Smolensk regions. There are also cases in which municipal regulations require extra documents from entrepreneurs for getting permit documents.
In the Amur region, municipal services delivering regulations for the preparation and issuing of an urban development plan were protested against, as they included the requirement of providing documents from the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastral and Cartography (Rosreestr) and Federal Tax Agency (FTA), which are not required by law.
— Currently a lot is said of administrative barriers, of the complexity and long terms of licensing procedures. Sometimes entrepreneurs are required to present documents not demanded by law. What is being done to eliminate administrative barriers for entrepreneurs’ activity?
— Administrative barriers for entrepreneurs are really established by prosecutors, and not only in the sphere of construction, while contacting authorities. Last year, 171,000 violations of laws on business entities’ rights protection were precluded. Almost 30,000 remedial action orders and 25,000 opposition notices were introduced, 3,100 claims were sent to court, 26,600 offenders were subject to disciplinary and administrative responsibility, and 98 criminal cases were initiated.
For example, the Riazan regional Prosecutor’s office took measures in connection with the illegal refusal of the regional state technical supervision body inspection of an entrepreneur to register a tracked crane because he had no technical passport. But passports for self-propelled vehicles are to be issued by the above-noted bodies during registration.
— It is no secret that sometimes administrative barriers are created to force entrepreneurs to offer bribes. It is fertile ground for corruption. Sometimes, commercial entities are forced to conclude different treaties and agreements, including participation in social and engineering infrastructure development. How does the Prosecutor’s office react to this?
— To minimize personal contact and probable corruption, prosecutors actively work to provide for state and municipal services in an electronic format.
As advised by the Perm regional Prosecutor’s office, the regional government has adopted a schedule of transitioning to electronic state service presentation. The Prosecutor’s interference was also necessary in the Krasnodar and Chelyabinsk regions.
In the Tyva Republic, 17 claims were filed to make municipal authorities and ministries of land and property relations of the Republic provide for state and municipal services in an electronic format via the unified portal of state and municipal services.
In the Volgograd region, as advised by regional prosecutors, municipal authorities have implemented more than 100 previously lacking interactive claims on services provision.
Responsive measures as a result of such facts have been taken in the Republics of Buriatia, Northern Osetia-Alania, Khakassia, the Stavropol territory, the Amur, Ivanovo, Kursk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Orenburg, Rostov, the Tula region, and the Khanty-Mansy and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Districts.
— Today much is said of multiple checks by supervising bodies, and that they are sometimes unlawful. What violations are common? Give some examples, please.
— Prosecutors actively work to terminate unjustified checks of entrepreneurs’ activity in all spheres, especially while forming an integrated plan for checking legal entities and individual entrepreneurs. Prosecutors assess the legal basis for the introduction of each check in the projects, which allows for a significant reduction in the number of planned checks.
Thus, the number of auditors’ proposals on including business units into the plan which were given to the Prosecutor's office, has totaled 657,000 so far in 2016. Five years ago there were double this amount. Out of these, only 364,000 checks (55%) have been adopted, and about 40% of the adopted ones are carried out by auditors together with prosecutors, which, of course, diminishes the pressure on businesses.
Since January 1st, 2016 a three-year-long standstill period has been in place for planned checks as far as conscientious small business entities are concerned that have not been administratively punished before.
The prohibition allowed us to reduce the number of planned checks. However, due to an absence of a register of small and medium-size businesses, there are temporary difficulties on defining the category of the entities being checked. In this case, small business representatives may ask the supervisory body to exclude them from the planned checks.
According to the results of the prosecutor’s checks of supervisory bodies carried out in 2015, more than 70,000 violations of laws on state control were found, 14,000 presentations were introduced, and more than 11,000 officials were subject to disciplinary action and about 2,000 to administrative responsibility.
As a rule, the violations revealed are connected primarily with the practice of carrying out unlawful checks, including anonymous claims, without coordinating with prosecutors as well as with competence excess. Sometimes checks are carried out without issuing instructions on checks, and the result is that the checks are made and handled with violations of terms.
— Another important topic is the nonfulfillment of obligations for concluded contracts by state and municipal customers. What did you manage to achieve on this issue?
— As of March 1st, 2016, the debt volume on state and municipal contracts revealed by prosecutors of the RF totaled about 38 bln roubles. As a result of the measures taken since 2015, the debt was partially paid to the sum of 5.7 bln roubles.
— What legislative documents are to be taken for more a efficient struggle against violations of the law? Should responsibility for them become stricter?
— The RF General Prosecutor’s office is taking measures for legislative improvement in the sphere of business entities’ rights protection. This year the RF Government is considering the issue of the customers’ administrative responsibility for breaking the orders and terms of payment within state and municipal contracts. The RF ministry has already developed the corresponding project of a legislative regulatory act.
The work on improving legislation providing for the protection of entrepreneurs’ rights is going on.