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At its Twenty-Second Meeting, held September 9 – 13, the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) adopted the Uruguay report on the implementation of this treaty in the context of the Fourth Round of Review of the Mechanism.
A significant portion of the report focused on examination of those oversight bodies in Uruguay with the responsibility for the prevention, detection, punishment and eradication of acts of corruption. Accordingly, the report examines the Transparency and Public Ethics Board; the Supreme Court of Justice; the Court of Accounts; and the Office of the Attorney General and Prosecutor. The progress made by Uruguay in relation to the recommendations of the First Round of the MESICIC was also reviewed.
The examination was carried out taking into account Uruguay’s response to a questionnaire, information gathered by the Technical Secretariat, and, as a new and important source of information, an on-site visit conducted April 8 - 10, 2013. This visit was carried out by a team comprising of Antigua and Barbuda, and Argentina, as well as members of the MESICIC Technical Secretariat. During that visit, the review team met with representatives of the aforementioned government institutions as well with civil society organizations, the private sector, professional associations, academics, and researchers on issues of relevance to the fight against corruption.
Some of the recommendations formulated to Uruguay for its consideration in relation to the foregoing oversight bodies address purposes such as the following:
Provide to the Transparency and Public Ethics Board, the Office of the Attorney General and Prosecutor and the Court of Accounts with the financial and human resources to fully perform their attributions and functions, within available resources.
With regard to the Transparency and Public Ethics Board, consider establishing measures or mechanisms that assure its independence with respect to administrative matters; adopt manuals and other documents describing the functions of its staff; maintain results on investigations carried out by the Board with respect to declarations of net worth; establish procedures for opening and verifying the contents of a declaration of net worth by the Board; and promote coordination mechanisms between the Board and other oversight bodies.
Regarding the Office of the Attorney General and Prosecutor, consider establishing measures or mechanisms that assure its administrative independence; implement comprehensive and generalized training courses, in particular in areas related to the prevention of corruption; establish an internal audit unit; and maintain statistics on the detection of corrupt practices.
Pertaining to the Court of Accounts, consider publicizing in its annual reports those expenditures that have been reiterated by the Court and in need of ‘urgent consideration;’ as well as for the country under review consider establishing mechanisms that can be applied by Uruguay for noncompliance of established law relating to expenses and payments of public bodies.
With respect to the Supreme Court of Justice, promote coordination mechanisms with other important government bodies; document the reasons that files are closed in both administrative investigations and disciplinary proceedings; and make available on the website of the Judicial Branch the administrative proceedings and disciplinary proceedings carried out by the Supreme Court of Justice with respect to judges.
With regard to the follow-up on the recommendations formulated to Uruguay in the First Round of this Mechanism, the following advances are noted: training strengthened with respect standards of conduct, including conflicts of interest; the promotion of standards on the proper conservation and use of public resources; and its continued efforts to provide cooperation to other States Parties to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.
Some of the recommendations still pending from the First Round or have been reformulated address issues such as: supplementing the restrictions provided in the law for those who leave the public service; facilitate reporting mechanisms for acts of corruption through the use of communication media; extending the regime of sanctions for the omission of information on the declarations of net worth; establish and implement mechanisms for public consultation; and strengthen participation by civil society and non-governmental bodies in efforts to prevent corruption, and monitoring of public activities.
Uruguay also provided information, for inclusion in the report, on an initiative by the Court of Accounts to encourage government bodies to render their accounts by honoring those that have adhered to the standards that govern performance in all matters relating to public finance. This best practice is known as “Recognition of Best Practices in the Public Administration.”
During this Twenty-Second Meeting, similar reports were adopted for Chile, Colombia, Guatemala and Panama. The Uruguay report adopted by the Committee, as well as those of the aforementioned countries, is available at: http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/mesicic4_rep.htm
143 - Sept. 2013
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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