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OAS ANTI-CORRUPTION MECHANISM ADOPTS REPORT ON BOLIVIA
On March 11, at its Twenty-Sixth Meeting, the Committee of Experts of the OAS Anticorruption Mechanism (MESICIC) adopted a set of concrete recommendations to strengthen the systems of government hiring and procurement of goods and services, and for protecting public servants and private citizens who report acts of corruption in Bolivia.
These recommendations are contained in a report that also includes a comprehensive analysis of the implementation in Bolivia of paragraphs 3 and 12 of Article III of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption which concerned, respectively, measures to create, maintain, and strengthen instruction to government personnel to ensure proper understanding of their responsibilities and the ethical rules governing their activities, and the study of further preventive measures that take into account the relationship between equitable compensation and probity in public service.
To perform this analysis, the Committee mainly took into account Bolivia’s response to a questionnaire and information gathered during the on-site visit to that country from October 14 to 16, 2015, by representatives of Honduras and Jamaica. With the support of the Technical Secretariat of MESICIC, during that visit, the information (presented) by Bolivia was clarified and supplemented with the opinions of civil society and private sector organizations, professional associations, and academics on the issues under review.
The report adopted also includes the progress shown by Bolivia in implementing the Convention, including the provisions of the new Political Constitution of the country promulgated in 2009, in which enshrines the principles of legitimacy, legality, impartiality, openness, social commitment, social interest, ethics, transparency, equality, competition, efficiency, quality, human warmth, honesty, responsibility, and the achievement of results in public service are enshrined.
Specifically with respect to government hiring systems, it is worth highlighting the legislative initiatives that are advancing in Bolivia in order to align those systems with the new Constitution, as well as legal measures that the legislative branch, judiciary, and Public Prosecution Service have been pursuing to strengthen their respective hiring systems, including Specific Regulations on the Personnel Administration System of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, Law No. 025 (Judiciary Law) of 2010, and Law No. 260 (Organic Law of the Public Prosecution Service) of 2012, to cite a number of examples.
As regards the regime on government procurement of goods and services, Bolivia has also been moving ahead with efforts of a legislative nature aimed at making that regime compatible with the new constitutional framework. Also worth noting is the 2009 promulgation of SD No. 0181 on Basic Standards of the Goods and Services Administration System, which replaced SD No. 29190 of 2007 in order to make government hiring procedures more efficient, expeditious, and transparent.
On the subject of protection for persons who report acts of corruption, the report mentions the establishment of the Whistleblower and Witnesses Protection System following the promulgation in 2010 of Law No. 004 (“Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz” Law on Combating Corruption, Illicit Enrichment, and Investigating Fortunes), whose implementation was regulated in 2013 by Law No. 458 on Protection of Whistleblowers and Witnesses.
Based on the review of the aforementioned new developments, the Committee also formulated recommendations on aspects such as development of laws or other instruments to ensure openness, equity, and efficiency in systems of government hiring and procurement of goods and services based on the principles and rights envisaged in the Constitution and the Convention; avoiding the improper use of individuals providing on-line consultant services and the prolonged continuation in the civil service of individuals engaged as “interim personnel; impeding the improper and/or arbitrary use of exceptional procurement; establishing a general regime on amounts that sets amounts for determining the applicability of direct procurement of goods and services; conducting awareness campaigns, workshops, seminars, or other similar activities designed to disclose and disseminate the nature, content, and scope of Law No. 458 as well as the protection measures it offers to public servants and private citizens who report acts of corruption, among other recommendations.
For the analysis of the provisions envisaged in Article III (3) of the Convention that refer to instruction to government personnel to ensure proper understanding of their responsibilities and the ethical rules governing their activities, in keeping with a methodology approved by the Committee, Bolivia chose the personnel of the Ministry of Economy and Public Finance (MEFP), the State School for Judges (EJE) and the Office of the Comptroller General (CGE) for it considers their institutional and normative developments to be relevant and representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia's entities and institutions as a whole.
Some of the recommendations formulated to Bolivia in
relation to the foregoing, address, with respect to the
personnel of the Ministry of Economy and Public Finance,
the inclusion of, as part of the contents of Individual
Annual Operating Plans (POAI), mandatory training
courses, workshops, and/or seminars to create awareness
of everyone who serves in the public sector about the
inherent corruption risks in the performance of their
official duties as well as its consequences.
With respect to the School for Judges, adopt the necessary measures to make it a mandatory requirement for admission to the judiciary to attend and pass the training and specialist instruction programs that the School provides, and develop induction and training courses and/or programs for all public servants in the judiciary on the ethical rules that govern their activities, in particular, ones to make them aware of the inherent corruption risks in the performance of their official duties.
With respect to the Office of the Comptroller General, promote and hold training events to strengthen the ethical and moral development of all public servants in the Office of the Comptroller through its Training Center (CENCAP), taking advantage of its infrastructure and technological tools.
Finally, the Committee reviewed whether Bolivia has studied further preventive measures that take into account the relationship between equitable compensation and probity in public service and if it has established objective and transparent guidelines for determining civil servant remunerations. On that basis, it was recommended that Bolivia should consider promoting inclusion of objective criteria to determine compensation of public servants within offices and entities included in the legislative and judicial branches, as well as for the decentralized and self-sufficient entities of the executive branch.
It should be noted that the report also contains a set of best practices on which Bolivia supplied information, which are, in short, the public opening of bids in goods and services procurement processes in the Municipality of Vinto, a practice adopted by its autonomous municipal government; the Mi Plataforma initiative introduced by the Ministry for Institutional Transparency and Fight against Corruption; diagnostic assessment of areas at risk for corruption at the municipal level implemented by the same ministry, disclosure of risk maps for the entities evaluated; and lastly, the Executive Branch Ministries Master Salary Scale instituted by the Ministry of Economy and Public Finance as a salary policy instrument for adjusting salaries and establishing levels, categories, descriptions, and basic pay in a bid to harmonize the structure in salary and positions within executive branch ministries.
Along with the report of Bolivia, the Committee also adopted reports for Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay, all available at:
Edition N° 235 - Mar. 2016
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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