MOSCOW, 11 March 2004 (Prime-Tass) — Newly appointed Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev said in an interview with Kommersant business daily he is determined to root out corruption in his ministry, and exclude the possibility of officials’ interference with the natural resources sector, the newspaper reported Thursday.
These tasks were set personally by the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Trutnev said.
“It is necessary to attain complete transparency in relations between the ministry and society,” Trutnev said adding that he “does not understand why the ministry should interfere in the process of granting licenses to develop locally important resources.”
In Trutnev’s opinion, issues related to strategic reserves should be sorted out at a federal level, while other resources should be sorted out at the level of regional governments.
The key principle is granting licenses through transparent auctions, otherwise “society will always suspect ministries and agencies of corruption, and there will be grounds for that,” Trutnev noted.
“People should clearly understand how the mechanism of granting licenses works, and how and where the state interests are guarded and how the rights of investors are protected,” he said.
Trutnev said “the most complicated issue” for him now is finding new staff for his ministry.
On the one hand, there are a number of qualified specialists in the ministry, but on the other, it is unadvisable to “drag all the contacts, relationships and dark stories” from the old ministry to the new one, he said.
Trutnev did not say whether former Natural Resources Minister Vitaly Artyukhov will stay in the ministry, but said he is meeting the latter Thursday to discuss his future.