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At its Twenty Fourth Meeting, held September 8 – 12, 2014, the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) adopted its first report on Haiti.

Bearing in mind that the Republic of Haiti was not party to the MESICIC when the First Round of MESICIC was conducted, the report is a comprehensive review of Haiti’s implementation of the provisions of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption that the Committee of Experts of the MESICIC selected for review in the First Round and the Fourth Round, which is currently being carried out by the MESICIC.

The provisions selected for review in the First Round are those provided in Article III, paragraph 1 (Standards of conduct: conflicts of interest, conservation of public resources, obligation to report); Article III, paragraph 2 (Mechanisms to enforce the standards of conduct); Article III, paragraph 4 (Systems for registering income, assets and liabilities); Article III, paragraph 11 (Participation by civil society); Article XIV (Assistance and Cooperation), and Article XVIII (Central Authorities).

Article III, paragraph 9 was selected for the Fourth Round, which concerns the “oversight bodies with a view to implementing modern mechanisms for preventing, detecting, punishing and eradicating corrupt acts.”

The examination was carried out taking into account Haiti’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 in Port-au-Prince, April 8 - 10, 2014. This visit was carried out by a team comprising of anti-corruption experts from Ecuador and Panama, 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 representatives of civil society organizations, private sector and professional associations, on issues of relevance to the fight against corruption.


With respect to the review of standards of conduct and mechanisms to enforce them, the recommendations made to Haiti included the following:

- establish standards of conduct to regulate, specifically and in detail, those situations that could constitute conflicts of interest for senior government officials (such as Ministers and Secretaries of State), members of Parliament and members of the Judicial Branch and the Public Prosecution Service, as well as the appropriate mechanisms to enforce them;
- adopt the Decree (“Arrêté”) setting the fines to be paid in the event of mismanagement (“fautes de gestion”), in accordance with the provisions of Article 80 of the Decree of February 16, 2005, on the preparation and execution of the finance laws; and
- conduct a study to identify the principal difficulties that public officials encounter when filing complaints concerning acts of corruption of which they are aware, with a view to identifying challenges and recommending corrective measures.
Regarding the review of the systems for registering income, assets and liabilities, the recommendations made included the following:
- publish the list of names of those who fail to comply with the obligation to file an asset declaration and update that list periodically, and
- establish administrative sanctions for those who fail to comply with the obligation to file an asset declaration within thirty (30) days of the date on which they left public service; these sanctions might include fines and disqualification from any public office until such time as the final asset declaration is filed.

With regard to the mechanisms to encourage participation by civil society and nongovernmental organizations in efforts to prevent corruption, the recommendations included the following:

- develop regulatory instruments that classify as public any information and documents relating to the performance of public sector organs and entities, with the exceptions established under the legal system; and instruments that give every person the right to request information, to consult documents that are in the possession of or under the control of public institutions and that concern official measures, and to request a copy of them, with the exception of the cases protected by law; and
- issue an Executive Order clearly establishing the composition, mandate and authorities of the Mixed Consultative Committee created under Article 6 of the Decree establishing Haiti’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ULCC), so as to enable a consultation mechanism to materialize that in turn will open up fora where nongovernmental organizations and civil society can express their views and submit proposals on preventing corruption.

As for mutual assistance, mutual technical cooperation and central authorities, the following was recommended:

- establish a unit or office of legal cooperation within the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and ensure that said authority has sufficient resources and technical preparation to promptly formulate and respond to requests for assistance and cooperation made pursuant to the Convention, and
- consider the possibility of ratifying the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and participate actively in the Meetings of Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA) and its Working Group on Legal Cooperation in Criminal Matters.

Based on the review and contributions made throughout the report, the following were among the general recommendations also offered:

- design and implement, where appropriate, training programs for public servants responsible for application of the systems, standards, measures, and mechanisms included in this report, in order to ensure that they are thoroughly understood and properly handled and applied; and
- select and develop procedures and indicators, as appropriate, for verifying follow-up of the recommendations contained in this Report, and notify the Committee accordingly through the Technical Secretariat.

The oversight bodies of the Republic of Haiti reviewed in this report were: the Anti-Corruption Unit (ULCC); the Superior Court of Accounts and of Administrative Disputes (CSC/CA); the National Public Procurement Commission (CNMP); the Superior Council of the Judicial Branch (CSPJ), and the General Inspectorate of Finance (IGF).

Some of the recommendations formulated to Haiti for its consideration in connection with the aforementioned bodies are, among others, the following:

- Strengthen the ULCC, the CSC/CA, the CSPJ and the IGF by ensuring that they have the infrastructure they need to properly perform their functions, and the conditions necessary to attract and retain the required human resources, especially in their regional offices, taking the availability of resources into account.
- In the case of the ULCC, consider providing it with the authority to conduct ex officio investigations of acts of corruption, and establish formal mechanisms enabling cooperation between the ULCC and the organs and entities of the Judicial Police in Haiti, so as to avoid duplicating investigations and wasting resources; should conflicts of jurisdiction arise, ensure that the ULCC, given its area of expertise, is assigned priority status for purposes of investigating corrupt acts.
- In the case of the CSC/CA, adopt the implementing decrees (“Arrêtés d’application”) regulating the procedures by which the chambers of the CSC/CA function, their rules of procedure, the statute of the judges and other CSC/CA officials and the institution’s internal regulations, so that the Decree of November 23, 2005 can be applied in full; prepare a study to explain the reasons why the CSC/CA has entered so few debit rulings (“Arrêt de Débet”) against defaulting officials, and, in coordination with the other relevant oversight bodies like the ULCC, the Public Prosecution Service and the Judicial Branch, take the necessary action to carry out, in practice, the strategy for combatting corruption in Haiti and to make good on the country’s commitment not to allow those who commit acts of corruption to go unpunished.
- In the case of the CNMP, strengthen the measures necessary to determine the membership of and establish the Committee for Settlement of Differences (CRD), so that it may begin to operate and ensure that it has autonomy in its operations; as well as develop procedures to effectively check for incompatibilities and conflicts of interest in the case of members of the CNMP and the incompatibilities established in articles 22 and 23 of the Law of June 10, 2009.
- In the case of the CSPJ, strengthen the independence of the Judicial Branch and implement a mechanism that ensures that the formation of the judiciary (“la magistrature”) is neither obstructed nor paralyzed by failure to appoint or confirm judges. If presidential approval is not given, that the public is informed of the reasons why approval was withheld; and consider including, in the powers of the CSPJ, the authority to select, promote, recertify, and discipline the officers of the Public Prosecution Service, in order to provide those officers with full guarantees of independence and impartiality in discharging their duties.
- With regard to the IGF, in conjunction with the National School of Financial Administration (ENAF), promote a curriculum to train professionals specializing in public sector auditing; consider making IGF accountability a legal requirement, which would include publication of its annual performance report containing information on its activities, the results obtained, and the institution’s internal performance. The report should show that the scheduled audits were performed, and contain a list of the recommendations made to the audited entities and their current status.

In addition to the foregoing, the report highlights the best practice which Haiti provided information, which refers to the adoption of the “Declaration of Port-au-Prince.” This six-page document is dated April 21, 2005, and bears the signature of forty-eight (48) leaders of political parties. It was prepared after two workshops (April 20 - 21, 2005) organized at the initiative of the ULCC together with the Fondation Héritage pour Haïti (Haitian Chapter of Transparency International). The signatories of that document recommended that the institutions charged with preventing and punishing corruption be strengthened and given the independence necessary to perform their respective mandates. They undertook a series of commitments, which included ethical practices within their political parties, the formation of an anti-corruption commission in the two houses of Parliament in the next session of Congress, promotion of decency and honesty, ratification of the two conventions the country had signed on the subject of corruption, and heightening public awareness to the corrosive effects of corruption.

During this Twenty Fourth Meeting, similar reports were adopted for Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Belize and Haiti. The Grenada report adopted by the Committee, as well as the aforementioned countries, are available here

For more information, please visit the Anti-corruption Portal of the Americas.

Edition N° 192 - September 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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