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OAS ANTI-CORRUPTION MECHANISM ADOPTS REPORT FOR URUGUAY
At its Twenty-Sixth Meeting, held March 7 – 11, the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) adopted the country report for Uruguay on the implementation of this treaty in the context of the Fifth Round of Review of the Mechanism.
This Report focuses on two important aspects. First, it reviews the progress and new developments by Uruguay in implementing the recommendations that were formulated to it in the report of the Second Round regarding systems of government hiring and procurement of goods and services as well as the protection of public servants and private citizens who report acts of corruption. Second, regarding the Convention provisions selected for review for the Fifth Round, it examines the manner the National Social Security Agency, the Court of Accounts and the National Tax Authority provides instructions to its personnel, which ensure proper understanding of their responsibilities and the ethical rules governing their activities. It also examines whether Uruguay has conducted a study of further preventive measures that take into account the relationship between equitable compensation and probity in public service and if objective and transparent criteria has been established for determining the compensation of public servants.
The review of these topics was carried out taking into account a response by Uruguay to a questionnaire, information gathered by the Technical Secretariat, and from an on-site visit conducted September October 6 - 8, 2015. This visit was carried out by the Lead Experts from Ecuador and the United States, as well as a member of the MESICIC Technical Secretariat. During that visit, the information furnished by Uruguay was clarified and expanded by relevant government institutions and the opinions of civil society were heard.
With regard to the follow-up on the recommendations formulated to Uruguay respecting government hiring, the Report notes the establishment of ‘Uruguay Concursa,’ a portal for the recruitment of personnel in the Central Administration, and the adoption of defined criteria for the advertisement of hiring opportunities for vacancies in the Central Administration. However, it recommends, among other things, that the country take the appropriate steps to bring the various career service systems in line with that of Uruguay Concursa, so that the specific and special systems created by law incorporate the same principles of merit and equality. Moreover, Uruguay should consider establishing a mechanism to ensure that relevant information on hiring competitions being carried out by agencies not part of the Central Administration is collected and analyzed.
Regarding the procurement of goods and services, the Report notes that Uruguay has implemented provisions that outline clear procedures for the selection of contractors in those situations where direct contracting is used; and implemented Electronic Bidding, an electronic bidding system for the acquisition of goods and services. However, Uruguay should consider defining the scope of application of the terms used in Article 33 (8) of the Accounting and Financial Management Integrated Text (TOCAF); provide the State Agency for Procurement and Contracting with the necessary human, technological and budgetary resources to ensure that it carries out its function; and review the provisions that require the rotation of procurement officers, in order to determine if they are beneficial or not.
With respect to the protection of public servants that report acts of corruption, the Report makes reference to the establishment of a witness protection regime by Law 18.494, for proceedings that fall under the competence of the Specialized Magistrates and Prosecutors on Organized Crime. The Report notes, nevertheless, that the country should consider establishing administrative protection measures that protect the identity of public servants that must report any irregularities or corrupt practices.
For the review of the first provisions selected for the Fifth Round that refer to instructions to government personnel to ensure proper understanding of their responsibilities and the ethical rules governing their activities, some of the recommendations formulated to Uruguay, for its consideration, with respect to this topic, are noted as follows:
Regarding the National Social Security Agency, maintain results on the programs in place that ensure the proper understanding of the responsibilities and ethical rules governing the activities of its personnel.
With respect to the Court of Accounts, carry out mandatory training on ethical rules governing the activities of the personnel of the Court of Accounts, as provided by Law 17.060; provide mandatory training on the Code of Ethics of the Court of Accounts for its personnel; implement provisions that make induction training mandatory for the personnel of the Court of Accounts; and maintain results on the programs in place that ensure the proper understanding of the responsibilities and the ethical rules governing the activities of its personnel.
Regarding the National Tax Authority, adopt measures to address the high number of personnel that find the training provided by the National Tax Authority unsatisfactory, so that it can better ensure that it’s personal have a proper understanding of their responsibilities and ethical rules governing their activities.
With respect to the study of preventive measures that
take into account the relationship between equitable
compensation and probity in the public service, and if
objective and transparent criteria has been established
for determining the compensation of public servants,
Uruguay has been recommended, among others, to consider
adopting, through the appropriate authorities,
provisions similar to those contained in the Public
Service Statute and Law 18.172 for those government
entities that fall outside of the Executive Branch, so
that there are objective and transparent criteria for
determining the compensation of those public servants.
Edition N° 237 - Mar. 2016
The Mechanism For Follow-up on the
Implementation of the Inter-American
Convention against Corruption, known as MESICIC for its Spanish acronym, is a tool to
support the development of the Inter-American
Convention against Corruption through
cooperation between States Parties.
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