Venezuela: six lost years in the fight against corruption. What will the new deputies do?
The National Assembly has tasks which are unfinished or at a standstill.
Once again, Venezuela has failed the test. This is the conclusion of the Assessment Report of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption of the Organization of American States (OAS), which reports no progress on 97 of 113 recommendations made, some progress on 12 recommendations and only four that were fully fulfilled.
Mercedes De Freitas, Executive Director of Transparencia Venezuela, stated during a press conference that as long as the state entities responsible for fighting corruption do not take the OAS report seriously, design implementation plans, or allocate the necessary resources to carry them out, Venezuela will continue to waste time and public resources.
De Freitas said that the Comptroller General is still participating in the OAS as the Venezuelan Government's representative to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Follow-Up Mechanism for its Implementation (MESICIC), evaluating other countries every four months as a member of that entity’s Expert Committee. "But within the country," she said, "regrettably the report is not disseminated, and there is an absence of programmes that would help build the integrity systems we need."
She pointed out that all of the public authorities have work to do, although most of it is concentrated in the National Executive, the National Assembly, the Comptroller General of the Republic, and the Supreme Court of Justice.
As an illustration of delayed measures, De Freitas pointed to the National Assembly is responsible for many of these, including: 1. Passing an access to public information law; 2. Developing regulations for expediting reports on acts of corruption; 3. Enacting measures to protect public servants who report these acts; .4. Eliminating laws on contempt of court; and 5. Eliminating provisions that restrict the participation of civil society in the prevention of corruption, including those provisions which target the funding sources of these organizations. Additional unfinished work for the Venezuelan congress includes passing a law that prevents conflicts of interest; hinders, disqualifies, or bans high-ranking officials from activities that may affect their impartiality; strengthens sanctions; and envisages a fully independent authority.
Transparencia Venezuela has prepared a detailed report showing Venezuela's progress on each issue.
Since the anti-corruption monitoring mechanism (MESICIC) was passed in May 2001, Venezuela has been reviewed three times: In July 2004, June 2007, and March 2010.
"In the 2010 report, of the 52 recommendations stemming from the issues assessed in the first round in 2004, the OAS insisted that Venezuela had made no progress at all on 44 items, marked in red to indicate stagnation. These topics include conflicts of interest, sworn net asset statements, monitoring of public agencies, mechanisms for encouraging civil society participation in corruption prevention efforts, international assistance and cooperation, the central authorities, and general recommendations," said De Freitas.
|Thematic structure||Recommendations||No progress|
|Section I||Conduct guidelines and mechanisms for their effective implementation (preventing conflicts of interest)||14||11|
|Section II||Systems for disclosing assets and liabilities (sworn statement of net assets)||8||4|
|Section III||Monitoring public agencies: higher oversight authorities regarding regulations||2||2|
|Section IV||Mechanisms for encouraging civil society participation in corruption prevention efforts||18||18|
|Section V||International cooperation and assistance||7||7|
|Section VI||Central authorities||0||0|
|Section VI||General recommendations||3||2|
Concerning the issues assessed in the second round in 2007, the report reveals that out of 41 recommendations, 33 were marked red. These issues included the systems for hiring public employees, for government procurement of goods and services, the systems for protecting public employees and individual citizens who report acts of corruption in good faith, and some general recommendations.
|Thematic structure||Recommendations||No progress|
|Section I||Systems for hiring public employees and for government procurement of goods and services||31||24|
|Section II||Systems for protecting public employees and individual citizens who report acts of corruption in good faith||4||4|
|Section III||Acts of corruption||3||3|
|Section IV||General recommendations||3||2|
As to the issues assessed in 2010 during the third round, 20 new recommendations were made. They primarily involved preventing or hindering people or enterprises from obtaining tax benefits from payments made in a manner which contravenes anticorruption legislation, bribery of national or foreign public employees, transnational bribery, illicit enrichment, and extradition.
|Thematic structure||No progress|
|Section I||Preventing or hindering people or enterprises from obtaining tax benefits from payments made in a manner which contravenes anticorruption legislation||2|
|Section II||Preventing the bribery of national or foreign public employees||9|
|Section III||Transnational bribery||4|
|Section IV||Illicit enrichment||1|
|Section V||Reporting the categories of transnational bribery and illicit enrichment||1|
"Regrettably, while other countries are engaged in processes of modernization and constant improvement, through training and continuing education of government personnel, while at the same time pursuing original models for citizen participation and international cooperation, in Venezuela we are turning our backs on the recommendations and rejecting the support and experiences of other countries that can help us do better.
Transparencia Venezuela will today submit reports summarizing the recommendations made by the OAS to all pertinent public authorities. It will also request the publication of the plans for their implementation and the names of the people responsible for carrying them out."
For more information visit www.transparencia.org.ve
For any press enquiries please contact
Mercedes De Freitas
T: +58 212 576.0863