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OAS ANTI-CORRUPTION MECHANISM ADOPTS REPORT ON VENEZUELA
At its Twenty Fifth Meeting, held March 16 – 20, 2015, the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) adopted the Venezuela report on the implementation of this treaty in the framework of the Fourth Round of Review of the Mechanism. This is the fourth such report that has been issued by the MESICIC in relation to Venezuela’s implementation of this Convention.
The review focused on the structure, operation and results of five principal oversight bodies in Venezuela responsible for preventing, detecting, punishing and eradicating corruption: the Office of the Comptroller General (Contraloría General de la República - CGR), the Public Prosecution Service (Ministerio Público - MP), the Supreme Court of Justice (Tribunal Supremo de Justicia - TSJ), the National Superintendency of Internal Audits (Superintendencia Nacional de Auditoría Interna - SUNAI), and the Ombudsperson’s Office (Defensoría del Pueblo - DP). The progress made by Venezuela in relation to the recommendations of the First Round of the MESICIC was also reviewed.
In carrying out this review, Venezuela’s response to a questionnaire was taken into account, as well as information gathered by the Technical Secretariat and, as a new and important source of information, an on-site visit conducted from September 30 to October 2, 2015. Members of the review subgroup for Venezuela, comprising of Haiti and Peru, participated in this visit, along with Technical Secretariat of the MESICIC. Information furnished by Venezuela was clarified and expanded during this visit, and the opinions of civil society organizations, the private sector, academics, and researchers on issues of relevance to the review were heard.
Some of the recommendations formulated to Venezuela for its consideration in connection with the aforementioned bodies are, among others, the following:
With regard to the Office of the Comptroller General (CGR): strengthen interagency coordination; standardize fiscal control mechanisms for all entities and agencies of the public administration; evaluate the time limits for audits; implement a warning system in Online Net Worth Disclosure System to enable real-time identification of possible discrepancies; and strengthen the institution by providing it with the human, technological, and budgetary resources that it needs properly to carry out its work in the area of prevention, detection, and investigation of acts corruption.
In relation to the Public Prosecution Service (MP): update the institution’s Personnel Statute; hold public competitive examinations for entry to service in the institution; create the position of Anticorruption Prosecutor in the MP; strengthen the MP by providing it with the necessary human and budgetary resources for the Anticorruption Rapid Response Prosecution Unit (FRICC) to expand its activities to the regional sphere within the country; and strengthen interagency cooperation mechanisms between the MP and the principal and auxiliary criminal investigation bodies.
As to the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ): harmonize Article 64 of the LOTSJ with Article 270 of the Constitution concerning the nature of the Judicial Nominations Committee [Comité de Postulaciones Judiciales]; implement the “Consolidated Agenda” system in all states; and make public the annual performance reports of the judiciary on the TSJ website as well as through such other means as are deemed appropriate to put this information within the public’s reach.
With respect to the National Superintendency of Internal Audits (SUNAI): resume the holding of merit-based competitive examinations to recruit personnel for the institution; conclude the revision of the Organizational Model and the Organization Manual of the SUNAI, as well as of all its other manuals and rules governing internal procedures that are currently undergoing this process; and issue a manual of internal control standards for the SUNAI, based on the Manual of Standards of Internal Control for a Generic Central and Functionally Decentralized Administration Model.
With respect to the Ombudsperson’s Office (DP): complete the design of the staff recruitment subsystem for the DP; publish all annual reports of the DP on the institution’s website; and include topics to do with prevention of corruption in training, workshops, and other outreach activities of the DP; and disseminate the principles enshrined in the Convention.
The good practices on which Venezuela supplied information are, in brief, implementation by the CGR of the online sworn statement of net worth; the training in the area of anticorruption provided by the MP under the National Plan on Crime Prevention to officials attached to various oversight and prevention bodies; implementation by the TSJ of itinerant circuit courts and the Automated Judicial Case File Control System; the training provided by the SUNAI in the area of citizen participation and societal oversight of the citizenry and public servants; and implementation by the DP of the program “Haciendo Comunidad para los Derechos Humanos” [Forging a Community for Human Rights] with a view to implementing public policies on human rights.
Some of the recommendations still pending from the First Round address issues such as: : the introduction of regulations on the system of prevention of conflict of interest, impediments, illegibility, and prohibitions relating to senior government posts; the use of sworn statements of net worth, income, assets and liabilities to detect and prevent conflict of interest; strengthening the guarantees envisaged for the exercise of the right to public information; consolidation and systematization of provisions guaranteeing access to public information in a single body of laws; and repeal of so-called contempt (desacato) laws.
During this Twenty Fifth Meeting, similar reports were adopted for the Bahamas, the United States, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as the Fourth Round Hemispheric Report. The Venezuela 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° 227 - March 2015
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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