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On September 13, at its Twenty-Second Meeting, the Committee of Experts of the OAS Anticorruption Mechanism (MESICIC) adopted a report on the implementation in Guatemala of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

This report provides a comprehensive review of the structure, operation and results obtained by four of the oversight bodies responsible for preventing, detecting and punishing corruption in Guatemala: the Presidential Commission on Transparency and Electronic Government (COPRET), the Office of the  Attorney General, the Comptroller General of Accounts, and the Judicial Branch.

This review was performed taking into account the information provided by the country under review, and the information gathered during the on-site site visit held in Guatemala City in April of this year by representatives of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, and the Technical Secretariat of the MESICIC.  In addition to the meetings held with the above-cited government bodies, meetings were also held with representatives of civil society, the private sector, and academics from Guatemala.

In addition to the review, the report contains a set of recommendations to be considered by Guatemala in relation to the foregoing oversight bodies that address the following:

With respect to the COPRET, consider taking the steps necessary to transform the institution into a permanent body; the preparation of manuals that describe the functions of its personnel and documented procedures for the execution of responsibilities; completing and implementing the COPRET training program in the areas of transparency and the fight against corruption;  establishing specific procedures to address complaints regarding the COPRET; and promoting the actions necessary to ensure greater compliance with the Law on Access to Information. 

With respect to the Office of the Attorney General, consider ensuring that disciplinary decisions regarding its personnel can be effectively implemented; appointing the required members of the Council of the Office of the Attorney General; and implementing training regarding the Law on Access to Public Information; 

With respect to the Comptroller General of Accounts, consider providing the institution with sufficient human and financial resources to adequately comply with its responsibilities; bringing trusts used to fund government projects or services under the oversight of the institution; taking steps to foster the submission of complaints, including the acceptance of anonymous complaints and complaints via internet; and issuing documents that describe detailed procedures for personnel in the performance of their functions. 

With respect to the Judicial Branch, consider establishing specialized anticorruption judges and courts; completing the proposed new version of the Civil Procedural Code; issuing and/or publishing manuals describing the functions of non-judicial personnel as well as documented procedures for determining the responsibility of judges and magistrates for their actions; and issuing and/or publishing an annual report. 

Secondly, the report also contains the progress made on the implementation of recommendations formulated to Guatemala in the First Round of the MESICIC, which address purposes such as strengthening the implementation of laws and systems to regulate conflicts of interest; optimizing the verification sworn statements of net worth and considering their publication; and considering the design and implementation of state policies regarding mutual assistance and technical cooperation. Similarly, progress related to the implementation of recommendations includes Guatemala’s criminalization of illicit enrichment through the passage and entry into force of the Law against Corruption. 

Finally, the last section of the report briefly describes a broad set of best practices regarding which Guatemala provided information, such monitoring of the Executive Branch administrative and financial processes by the COPRET; the reorganization of the Office of the Anticorruption Prosecutor of the Office of the Attorney General; and the implementation of Trial Hearings (Juicio por Audiencias) by the Judicial Branch.

Together with the report on Guatemala, reports were also adopted corresponding to Chile, Colombia, Panama and Uruguay, which are all available here. 

Edition N° 145 - Sept. 2013

What is the MESICIC?

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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