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Latin American Conference: Corporate Responsibility in Promoting Integrity and Fighting Corruption

The Department of Legal Cooperation of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs attended this important event, which was held in São Paulo, Brazil, on July 21 to 23 of this year, at the invitation of the office of Brazil’s Federal Comptroller General and the OECD.

The conference was opened by Jorge Hague Sobrinho, Chief Minister of the office of the Federal Comptroller General of Brazil; Richard Boucher, the Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD; Francisco Santos Calderón, Vice President of Colombia; Dimitri Vlassis, from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; Xavier Comas, from the IDB; Salvador Vega Casillas, Secretary of the Civil Service of Mexico; Juan Sebastián Roldán, National Secretary for Transparency of Ecuador; and Enrique Martínez, representing the OAS Department of Legal Cooperation.

The event enjoyed high levels of participation and attendance – not only by authorities from the public sectors of various countries, notably the Chair of the MESICIC Committee of Experts, Vania Viera, but also by leading representatives from the private sector.

The representative of the OAS Department of Legal Cooperation at the event emphasized the joint activities that the OAS has been pursuing with the Government of Brazil and the OECD in combating corruption, together with the contributions made by the Mechanism for Follow-up on Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC), in the specific field of corporate responsibility vis-à-vis corruption.

Our representative noted that during the third round of review, which is currently underway, the MESICIC has offered specific recommendations so that our countries can prevent sums of money that have been paid for corruption from being disguised as legitimate payments and from being used to obtain favorable tax treatment, together with recommendations addressing the need for companies to introduce adequate internal accounting controls to enable their employees to detect acts of corruption.

The participants at the event were also informed about how the MESICIC’s deliberations have enabled the adoption of measures of great importance in controlling private-sector corruption. These include: criminal liability for companies that engage in bribery, regardless of the liability of the individuals who actually offer the bribes; accounting requirements that hamper the incorporation of “shell companies” set up to commit acts of corruption; provisions to keep “professional secrecy” from being an obstacle to the reporting of corrupt acts; measures for raising the awareness of those responsible for internal controls in companies about the importance of their work and the consequences of failing to discharge their duties in full; and measures for providing companies with guidance on how to implement good anticorruption practices.

Edition N° 36 - August 2010

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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Department of Legal Cooperation
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