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At its Twentieth Meeting, held September 10 – 14, the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) adopted the Brazil 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 Brazil’s implementation of this Convention.
In this Fourth Round of the Mechanism, the review focused on the structure, operation and results of the top five Brazilian bodies responsible for preventing, detecting, punishing and eradicating corruption: the Office of the Comptroller General (CGU); the Federal Audit Court (TCU); the Federal Police Department (DPF); Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF); and the Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF). The progress made by Brazil in relation to the recommendations of the First Round of the MESICIC were also reviewed.
The review was carried out taking into account Brazil’s Response to the Questionnaire, information gathered by the Technical Secretariat, and, as a new and important source of information, an on-site visit conducted between March 20 and 23, 2012. This visit was carried out by the members of the review subgroup for Brazil, comprising the Dominican Republic and Uruguay, with the support of the Technical Secretariat of MESICIC. During that visit, the information furnished by Brazil was clarified and expanded and the opinions of civil society organizations, the private sector, professional associations, academics, and researchers on issues of relevance to the review were heard.
Some of the recommendations formulated to Brazil for its consideration in connection with the aforementioned bodies are aimed toward objectives, such as the following:
With respect to the CGU, to strengthen that body and ensure that it has the necessary human and financial resources to perform its functions properly; and consider the possibility of making the necessary statutory amendments in order to broaden the effects of the declaration of ineligibility so that any legal person declared ineligible is prohibited for a reasonable period of time from engaging in competitive bidding, contracting, or keeping contracts with the public administration, in all three branches and in every sphere of government, and of making obligatory the submission of data to the National Register of Ineligible and Suspended Companies (CEIS) as well as compliance therewith.
As part of the analysis of the TCU, to consider the possibility of creating a National Council of Audit Courts; keep permanently updated the register of persons disqualified by the TCU from holding positions of trust and consider the possibility of making the necessary statutory adjustments to make it mandatory for the public administration to consult that register; and follow up and intensify the efforts of the Office of the Attorney General of the Union (AGU) as regards increasing the level of effective recovery for the Treasury of fines imposed and collections ordered by the TCU;
With regard to the DPF, to consider the possibility of adopting the organic law of the Federal Police; establish a unit of the DPF’s Service for the Suppression of the Diversion of Public Resources in each of the Brazilian states without one; and enhance the technical and institutional capacity of the DPF to investigate cases of bribery of national and foreign government officials by individuals or corporations.
As regards the MPF, to establish an ombudsman within the organizational structure of the MPF together with a specialized unit to investigate and prosecute acts of corruption.
As regards the STF and the Judiciary, to consider the possibility of implementing reforms to the judicial appeals system or look for other mechanisms by which to expedite the conclusion of proceedings in the judiciary and the initiation of execution of the judgment, so as to avoid impunity for those responsible for acts of corruption; look for appropriate ways to ensure that the “forum by prerogative of office” is not used to enable members of parliament or high-level political appointees suspected of acts of corruption to evade justice; and consider, as one way to expedite the trial of acts of corruption and of administrative impropriety, the possibility of creating of specialized bodies in this area within the Judiciary.
With regard to follow-up on the recommendations formulated to Brazil in the First Round, three important advances were noted: 1) the promulgation and entry into force of the Access to Information Law; 2) the preparation and holding of the local, municipal, state, regional, and national stages of the First National Conference on Transparency and Societal Oversight (CONSOCIAL); and 3) the efforts of the AGU in the effective recovery of fines imposed by the TCU, which rose from 2.10% in 2008 to 25.08% in 2011.
In addition, some of the recommendations formulated to Brazil in the First Round that remain pending or were reformulated, address issues such as:
- the introduction of a law that establishes a system of rules on conflict of interests that applies across all three branches and each level of government, including, as applicable, appropriate restrictions on persons who leave public service;
- the regulation of conditions, procedures, and other aspects related to publication, where appropriate, of records of income, assets, and liabilities of public servants;
- continuation working with states and municipalities, as well as with the judiciary and the legislature, in order to provide them with their own regulations on the implementation of the Access to Information Law; and
- strengthening the archives policy, especially at the state and municipal level, as a means to ensure that information requests are not denied simply because of the absence of information that the state ought to produce and maintain.
In addition to the above, the report outlines the best practices on which Brazil provided information, which are, succinctly, the “Pro-Ethics Corporate Register,” which aims to encourage the creation of an environment of integrity in the private sector; and the “Public Spending Observatory”, which contributes to the aim of helping to improve public administration by boosting the efficiency of government programs, procedures, and spending, as well as identifying situations of risk or that jeopardize the integrity of processes and services.
During this Twentieth Meeting, similar reports were adopted for Bolivia, El Salvador, Mexico and Paraguay. The Brazil report adopted by the Committee, as well as the aforementioned countries, are available at: http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/mesicic4_rep.htm
Edition N° 95 - September 2012
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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