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OAS ANTI-CORRUPTION MECHANISM ADOPTS GUYANA REPORT

At its Twenty Third Meeting, held March 18 21, 2014, the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) adopted the Guyana 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 Guyana with the responsibility for the prevention, detection, punishment and eradication of acts of corruption. Accordingly, the report examines the Audit Office of Guyana, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Service Commissions, in particular the Public Service Commission and the Judicial Service Commission, and the National Procurement and Tender Administration. The progress made by Guyana in relation to the recommendations of the First Round of the MESICIC was also reviewed.

The examination was carried out taking into account Guyanas response to a questionnaire, information provided by civil society organizations, information gathered by the Technical Secretariat, and, as a new and important source of information, an on-site visit conducted October 8 - 10, 2013. This visit was carried out by a team comprising of Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as a member of the MESICIC Technical Secretariat. During that visit, the review team met with representatives of government institutions as well with civil society organizations on issues of relevance to the fight against corruption.  

Some of the recommendations formulated to Guyana for its consideration in relation to the foregoing oversight bodies address purposes such as the following:  

-          Provide the Audit Office, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Judicial Service Commission and the Public Service Appellate Tribunal, with the financial and human resources necessary to fully perform their attributions and functions, within available resources.

-          Consider establishing an articulated anti-corruption strategy, which could include the establishment of specialized anti-corruption units in the Guyana Police Force and in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions;

-          Promote awareness campaigns to the general public on how they can help the Audit Office in its functions, especially those of its Forensic Audit Unit, related to the uncovering and deterrence of fraud and corruption in Guyana;

-          Improve the Audit Office website, by advertising a specific hotline telephone number and/or a (secure) hotline complaint electronic form for those interested in presenting reports, complaints or allegations of fraud or corruption. Additionally, provide guidance on the website on how to present useful reports, complaints or allegations and on how interested persons can follow-up on its status;

-          Strengthen the skills and ability of officers in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute fraud and corruption cases and to provide timely legal advice on the investigations of such cases by the Audit Office, the Guyana Police Force and any other bodies, through the provision of broader training opportunities to staff members of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, especially training on the prosecution of acts of corruption and related international cooperation;

-          Implement formal coordination mechanisms between the Guyana Police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in order to establish settled procedures or guidelines for directing investigations related to acts of corruption, so earlier collaboration can be carried out and legal advice provided before a charge is instituted;

-          Consider modifying the Public Service Rules so that an officer who is acquitted of a criminal charge in any court is not precluded from having proceedings instituted against him or her under the Public Service Rules in respect of an alleged act of misconduct implicit in that criminal charge;

-          Establish and publish written guidelines and procedures prior to any delegation of powers of the Public Service Commission, in order to allow for the monitoring and oversight to ensure that the functions delegated by the Commission are being properly exercised;

-          Issue new regulations to the Procurement Act 2003 in order to establish clear, fair and efficient debarment procedures and mechanisms, including pecuniary sanctions, particularly for companies found to have paid bribes to any Guyanese government official or public servant, while ensuring that safeguards against the abusive or unjustified application of the debarment penalty are in place;

-          Maintain and publish a permanently updated list of debarred companies and individuals in the Official Gazette as well as on the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board website and require that entities in all three branches and in every sphere of government verify the list before awarding contracts to bidders, suppliers, contractors and/or consultants. 

With regard to the follow-up on the recommendations formulated to Guyana in the First Round of this Mechanism, the following are noted: the enactment of the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2009 and of the Access to Information Act 2011, as well as the ratification of the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.

Some of the recommendations still pending from the First Round or have been reformulated address issues such as:

-          Perform a comprehensive analysis on the causes for the persistent overpayment to contractors and to staff indicated in the Annual Reports of the Audit Office of Guyana, and take the necessary action to address the issue, ensuring that there are systems in place to avoid the reoccurrence of overpayments, as well as to vigorously pursue the recovery of the amounts overpaid;

-          Enforce the sanctions already in place in the Integrity Commission Act and consider implementing additional sanctions and other types of penalties, such as the disqualification for public service in cases where the declaring official left office without submitting a final disclosure, with a view to ensure that the penalties in force are sufficiently dissuasive, bearing in mind the pertinent articles of the MESICIC Model Law on the Declaration of Interests, Income, Assets and Liabilities of Persons Performing Public Functions; and

-          Provide the Commissioner of Information with the human and financial resources it needs for the proper performance of its functions, bearing in mind the availability of resources.

During this Twenty Third Meeting, similar reports were adopted for Canada, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Nicaragua. The Guyana 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


Edition N 171 - March 2014

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.

Read more here


 

 

 

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