ARGENTINA  

REPLY TO THE QUESTIONNAIRE OF THE COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS OF THE FOLLOW-UP MECHANISM FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INTER-AMERICAN CONVENTION AGAINST CORRUPTION  

FIRST ROUND 

I. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE LEGAL-INSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM  

Please briefly describe the legal-institutional system in your country in accordance with its constitutional framework. 

Under its Constitution the Argentine Republic has adopted a republican, representative system of government; the State is organized according to federal system (Article 1 of the Constitution). As a result of the above, there coexist a federal government and 24 districts; the latter consist of 23 provinces together with the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.   

At the federal government level there is a presidential system with the usual division of powers between the executive branch, a bicameral legislature composed of a chamber of deputies and a senate, and the judiciary.  

The Constitution divides an array of powers between the Federal Government and the Provincial Governments, and leaves in the hands of the latter all the powers not delegated to the Federal Government (Articles 121 and 126 of the Constitution). The Legislature is the authority responsible for enactment of general laws of the nation (Civil, Commercial and Criminal Codes, Labor Statutes, and laws on other areas under federal government jurisdiction), which are applicable throughout the country's territory, while formal or procedural laws, and laws on matters that concern the Provinces come under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Governments.  

The Executive Branch also plays a part in the making and enactment of laws, since the Constitution accords to it the power to veto laws, either partially or in full, with the result that any bills not promulgated are returned to the legislature for reconsideration.  

In the framework of the legislative branch is the Federal External Audit Office, which is responsible for external oversight of the assets and liabilities and the economic, financial and operative aspects of the Civil Service (Article 85 of the Constitution).  The Ombudsman is also under that framework; its mission is the defense and protection of the civil rights enshrined in the Constitution, international treaties and laws against deeds, acts or omissions of the Administration (Article 86 of the Constitution).  

The Executive Branch may issue regulations or executive orders in connection with such matters of administration or of public emergency as it is expressly empowered by the Congress (Article 76 of the Constitution); the Executive may do likewise in situations of need or urgency, in the event that special circumstances make it impossible to follow the normal procedures laid down for the enactment of laws, and provided that such provisions do not concern criminal, taxation or electoral matters, or the party political system (Article 99 (3) of the Constitution). Materially speaking, such decrees are general laws, even if they are regarded as provisions of inferior rank to laws.  

The executive branch is also empowered to issue such regulatory orders as may be necessary for the enforcement of laws without altering their spirit with statutory exceptions (Article 99 (2) of the Constitution). It may also issue autonomous decrees that only apply within the framework of the executive branch and which the President issues as the person politically responsible for the administration of the country (Article 99 (1)).  

As to the place occupied by international treaties in the order of superiority of laws, there is a block of federal laws that outranks the laws of Provincial Governments:

1.   Constitution and international treaties on human rights with constitutional rank (Articles 31 and 75 (22) of the Constitution)

2.   International treaties of inferior rank to the Constitution, including those on regional integration and those deriving therefrom -the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption is situated at this level- (Articles 31 and 75 (22 and 24) of the Constitution).

3.   Acts of Congress (Articles 31 and 75 (22 and 24) of the Constitution)

4.   Executive orders of the executive branch (Article 76 of the Constitution)

5.   Emergency decrees of the executive branch (Article 99 (3) of the Constitution). 

The President of the Nation performs the functions of head of state and head of government, is politically responsible for the political administration of the country, and is the head of the armed forces (Article 99 (1) and (12) of the Constitution). Beneath him there are currently 10 Ministries and the Office of the Head of the Cabinet, whose powers are laid down by Act of Congress.  In the framework of the Civil Service, beneath the structure of the ministries is a large number of administrative organizations that comprise the so-called public sector (Article 8 of Law Nº 24.156) and engage in government management, administrative and oversight affairs.  

As for the judiciary, its mission is to settle disputes that arise in lawsuits and to safeguard the supremacy of the Constitution. There is diffuse control of the constitutionality of laws exercised by all the judges of the nation, including provincial judges. Their decisions on the constitutionality of a norm do not have the effect of abolishing it but merely affect the parties in the dispute.  

Connected to the judiciary are the Judicial Council [Consejo de la Magistratura] and the Judicial Conduct Board [Jurado de Enjuiciamiento de Magistrados de la Nación] (Articles 114 and 115 of the Constitution). The main functions of the Council are selection of lower-court judge candidates, administration of the judiciary, and to apply disciplinary measures and bring charges against judges, the latter before the above-mentioned Judicial Conduct Board, which hears proceedings for the removal of federal lower-court judges.  

There is also a Department of Justice [Ministerio Público] composed of the Attorney General's Office and the Public Defender's Office, the purpose of which is to institute judicial proceedings in defense of lawfulness and of the general interests of society (Article 120 of the Constitution). 

General Comment: To reply to this questionnaire, a number of public agencies with specific jurisdiction over the matters consulted were requested to provide information, which will be analyzed by the Committee of Experts.  

Agencies consulted:  

·     Anti-Corruption Office of the Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights

·     Chamber of Deputies

·     Senate

·     Federal External Audit Office [Auditoría General del Nación]

·     Federal Comptroller's Office (jurisdiction of the Executive) [Sindicatura General del Nación]

·     Ministry of the Interior

·     Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship

·     Attorney General's Office

·     Public Defender's Office

·     Ombudsman

·     Federal Supreme Court of Justice

·     Judicial Council

·     Judicial Conduct Board

·     Bureau of International Affairs and Cooperation of the Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights

·     Administrative Development Division, Under-Secretariat for Public Administration, Office of the Head of the Cabinet

·     Judicial Statistics Office 

II. CONTENT OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE 

CHAPTER ONE 

MEASURES AND MECHANISMS REGARDING STANDARDS OF CONDUCT FOR THE CORRECT, HONORABLE, AND PROPER FULFILLMENT OF PUBLIC FUNCTIONS (ARTICLE III, 1 AND 2 OF THE CONVENTION) 

1. General standards of conduct and mechanisms 

a.   Are there standards of conduct in your country for the correct, honorable and adequate fulfillment of public functions? If so, briefly describe them and list and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents. 

Note: The standards of conduct for fulfillment of public functions are governed by different laws. Some are general and apply to all civil servants, whether elected or appointed, while others are special and apply to certain types of agencies.  

Following is a summary of the general provisions:  

The Public Ethics Act (Nº 25.188), the scope of which covers all civil servants, regardless of their level or rank, whether they are hold office in a temporary or permanent capacity as a result of a popular election, direct appointment, or competition, or through any other legal mechanism. Under Article 1, the Act applies to all judges, officials and employees of the State; Article 2 contains nine clauses setting forth duties and standards of ethical conduct.  

Among the foregoing are Art. 2 (a) which makes it a duty to respect the legal order and the democratic system; Art. 2 (e), which creates the obligation to justify one's acts and to be as transparent as possible in the adoption of decisions without restricting information unless a rule or public interest clearly requires otherwise; Art. 2 (h), which, in public contracts, requires respect for the principles of openness, equality, fair competition, and reasonableness; and Art. 2 (i), which makes it an obligation to disqualify oneself in certain circumstances provided in the Code of Civil Procedure regarding the laws on conflicts of interest. 

Decree 41/99, which adopts the Code of Public Ethics, sets out general standards of ethical conduct for civil servants employed in the executive branch. The Decree contains 28 such principles, contained in Articles 8 to 35, on:   

Probity, Prudence, Justice, Temperance, Eligibility, Responsibility, Ability, Training, Lawful Conduct, Evaluation, Truthfulness, Discretion, Transparency, Duty to Present Financial Disclosure Statements, Obedience, Independent Judgment, Equity, Fair Treatment, Proper Performance of Duties, Proper Use of State Assets, Proper Use of Work Hours, Cooperation, Use of Information, Duty to Report Offenses, Dignity and decorum, Honor, Tolerance, Good Sense. 

Act Nº 25.164, which governs policy on Public Employment in the executive branch, lists at Articles 23 and 24 various obligations and prohibitions. 

The foregoing include the duty to cooperate as a witness in preliminary investigations, matters concerning conflicts of interest; as well as the prohibition to represent or defend litigants against the civil service in judicial or extra-judicial matters.  

Finally, the aforementioned laws contain rules on gifts to civil servants.   

In that connection, Article 18 of the Public Ethics Act (Nº 25.188) provides, "Civil servants may not receive presents, gifts, or donations, whether of things, services or assets, in return for performance of their duties or in the course thereof. Should the gifts be given out of courtesy or diplomatic custom, the enforcement authority shall draw up rules on their registration and on the cases and manner in which they should become the property of the State, in order to be allocated for use in the areas of health, welfare, and education, or to be made part of the country's historical and cultural heritage, as appropriate".  

Decree 41/99 (Articles 36 to 38) provides rules on gifts and other benefits that may be interpreted as complementary to Article 18 immediately above, since it contains a series of circumstances that are useful for interpretation of the general principles given in Act Nº 25.188.  

b.   Are there mechanisms to enforce compliance with the above standards of conduct? If so, briefly describe them and list and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents. 

Note: Enforcement of the general standards summarized in point a) above, and of special rules, falls under the jurisdiction of different agencies, depending on their level of constitutional independence. 

The administrative punishments detailed below are applied irrespective of the criminal penalty to which the official in question may be liable in accordance with their conduct, which exceeds the framework of Article III (1) and (2) of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption inasmuch as they are not preventive measures but have to do with criminal law issues. 

Civil Service 

In the framework of the Civil Service -executive branch- the authority that enforces the standards of conduct contained in the Public Ethics Act (Nº 25.188) and in Decree 41/99 is the Anti-Corruption Office. For the purposes of investigating possible violations of the standards of ethical conduct contained in those laws, the Anti-Corruption Office receives queries from officials and complaints from the public -even anonymous ones- which may be submitted in person, by fax, or by electronic mail.  

The recommendations and instructions of the Anti-Corruption Office are obligatory for any that requests or receives them (Article 5 of Decree 41/99)  

The Anti-Corruption Office has broad investigative powers to request reports from public and private agencies, which are duty-bound to reply to them (Articles 2 and 5 of Decree Nº 102/99).  

The enforcement authority in the event of a violation of the Rules on Public Employment adopted by Act Nº 25.164 is the Public Employment Office, in the framework of the Under-Secretariat for Public Administration of the Office of the Head of the Cabinet.  

Punishments

Officials who fail to comply with the standards of ethical conduct contained in Act Nº 25.188, Decree 41/99, or Act Nº 25.164 -which applies solely to career employees in the executive branch- are punished or removed from office via administrative procedures contained in the rules governing their office (Article 3 of Act Nº 25.188; Article 47 of Decree 41/99; and Article 30 of Act Nº 25.164). In this connection the Rules of Procedure for Administrative Investigation (Decree 467/99 published in the Official Gazette of May 13, 1999) provides special rules for summary proceedings in the event of breach of duty by civil servants. 

Disciplinary measures can take the form of a caution, suspension of up to 30 days per year, dismissal or discharge. The difference between the last two is that a person dismissed may apply for re-eligibility for the civil service after two years, while a person discharged may only do so after four years; the punishment further entails removal from all positions in the civil service held by the discharged person (Articles 27 to 38 of Act Nº 25.164).  

It should be mentioned that under-secretaries, secretaries and ministers, as political officials appointed by the President of the Nation, are not subject to specific disciplinary rules, for which reason they are not liable to summary proceedings under Decree 467/97. Accordingly, such cases are referred to the President, who may order an investigation into the circumstances of the case.  

Judiciary  

The enforcement authority for Act Nº 25.188 in the framework of the Judiciary is the Federal Supreme Court of Justice (Court Decision Nº 1/2000). The punishments for violation of the Codes of Conduct, following a summary administrative proceeding in which the violator has the right of defense, are prevention, caution, fine, suspension of not more than 30 days, dismissal, and discharge (Article 16 of Decree Law 1285/58 on Organization of the Justice System).  

The Judicial Council exercises the respective disciplinary powers in the event of violation of a standard of conduct by a federal lower-court judge (Article 114 of the Constitution). If the offense is very serious the Council may examine the case to determine if it warrants a petition to the Judicial Conduct Board for removal of the judge for misconduct.  

Senate 

Under Articles 36, 38 and 39 of the Act concerning the Statute and Ranking of Congressional Employees (Act 24.600), breach of the obligations set forth therein may entail, even for high-ranking employees, the punishments of caution, suspension, dismissal, and discharge, provided they are ensured the right to defense. 

By DP-773/99 the Senate adopted the "Rules of Procedure for Administrative Investigations", approved by Decree 467/99. Under said procedure, should a deed, act or omission give rise to liability to disciplinary action, whether or not a loss to the treasury occurs, an investigative hearing or summary administrative proceeding, as appropriate, is opened to determine liability and to impose, on the basis thereof, the appropriate penalties. Furthermore, criminal charges shall also be brought in cases where the said rules so provide.

Federal External Audit Office (AGN) 

With respect to the issue of violation of standards of conduct, depending on the seriousness of the offense, the following penalties are imposed after a summary administrative proceeding is held: caution, suspension of up to 30 days, dismissal, or discharge (Articles 22 et seq. of the Employees Statute of the Federal External Audit Office).  

Department of Justice: Attorney General's Office 

The Technical and Disciplinary Control Department intervenes in summary proceedings arising from violations of the standards of conduct (Attorney General's Office, Resolutions Nº 88/99 and 89/99)   

Under Article 80 of the Basic Norms of the Attorney General’s Office, the punishments that may be imposed, irrespective of any civil or criminal liability that might arise, are reprimand, caution, suspension of up to 30 days, dismissal, or discharge. 

Department of Justice: Public Defender's Office 

The Public Defender's Office has disciplinary regulations for judges, officials and employees, which are attached hereto in electronic format (Public Defender's Office, Resolution Nº 1252/98).  

Ombudsman 

The punishments imposed for violation of the standards of conduct are caution, suspension of up to 10 days, dismissal or discharge (Article 28 of the Employees Statute). Imposition of a caution or of a suspension of up to 10 days does not require a prior summary administrative proceeding.  

Judicial Conduct Board  

Governed by the rules of the Federal Supreme Court of Justice. 

c.   Briefly state the results that have been obtained in implementing the above standards and mechanisms, attaching the pertinent statistical information, if available. 

As regards results, the Anti-Corruption Office has issued five recommendations on gifts. (In the cases of "Aerolíneas Argentinas airplane tickets"; Query from the "Minister of the Economy"; "De la Rúa"; "National Transport Regulation Commission", Query from the Manager of "Intercargo").   

Those recommendations stated that officials are prohibited to accept gifts from any persons, whether individuals or corporations, that are forbidden sources. It is up to the official who is the intended recipient of the gift to determine if the person who bestows it is a forbidden source. 

In order to assist that evaluation, the following guidelines should be observed in the determination of forbidden-source status:  

1)   Persons or institutions whose activities are regulated by or under the supervision of the agency where the official is employed;

2)   Contractors of the agency or department to which the official belongs; 

Should a forbidden source offer a gift the official should either reject it or, as appropriate, return it.  

Gifts given out of observance of protocol, courtesy, or diplomatic custom mentioned in Act N° 25.188 should be considered differently. 

These gifts become the property of the State upon their receipt by the Minister, who, under the law is required to allocate them "for use in the areas of health, welfare, and education, or to be made part of the country's historical and cultural heritage, as appropriate." 

Two cases concerning use of confidential information (Cases of "Embón" and "Terranova-Ducrós"): in these cases Article 30 of the Code of Public Ethics (Decree Nº 41/99) was applied to officials who had left office.    

One case of nepotism and eligibility of officials ("Piaggi" case): This case led to examination of the scope of Article 43 of Decree Nº 41/99, which provides, "Civil servants may not select relatives or friends to render services in the department of which they are in charge, in disregard of the requirement of duly accredited eligibility."  

As to cases of independent judgment or to the obligation to disqualify oneself, they relate to do instances of conflicts of interest which are analyzed herein below.  

Senate 

The Subdivision for Summary Proceedings [Subdirección Sumarios] of the Bureau of Legal Affairs [Dirección General de Asuntos Jurídicos], provide the following statistics on enforcement of the above rules and mechanisms over the past two years: A total of 83 cases; 56 summary proceedings; 26 investigative hearings; 47 cases concluded.  

With respect to criminal complaints, 20 cases have been brought and 14 are currently proceeding; four were closed or dismissed; and a final decision has been rendered in two.

Furthermore some six employees were either discharged or dismissed. 

Federal External Audit Office (AGN) 

There is no record of violations of the standards of conduct among its officials.  

Department of Justice: Attorney General's Office  

Following the entry into force of the disciplinary rules for prosecutors of the Attorney General's Office, adopted by Attorney General's Office resolution P.G.N. 57/99, several internal proceedings were opened, mainly originated on the basis of reports received under Title II, Article 16 of the rules, or because the Attorney General, as a result of reports filed by private individuals, and in compliance with Article 17 (first part), requested the prosecutor named to furnish such explanations as he or she deemed necessary regarding the matter brought to the attention of the Attorney General's Office. 

Department of Justice: Public Defender's Office 

There is no record of violations of the standards of conduct.  

Ombudsman 

There is no record of violations of the standards of conduct among its officials.

Judicial Conduct Board  

There is no record of violations of the standards of conduct among its officials.  

The following agencies have not provided the requested information to the Anti-Corruption Office of the Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights as the contact point for the reply to the present questionnaire:

Chamber of Deputies; Federal Supreme Court of Justice; Judicial Council.  

2. Conflicts of interest 

a.   Are there standards of conduct in your country regarding the prevention of conflicts of interest in the performance of public functions? If yes, briefly describe them, indicating aspects such as to whom they apply and the concept on which they are based, and list and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents. 

The Public Ethics Act (Nº 25.188) (BO 1-11-1999) at Chapter V sets out incompatibilities and conflicts of interest for civil servants (Articles 13 to 17). The executive has issued regulations (Decree 164/99 of December 28, 1999) for this Act only in the framework of the central and decentralized civil service.  

Articles 14 and 15 of Act Nº 25.188 have been amended by Decree Nº 862/2001 (Official Gazette of July 2, 2001), in accordance with the powers delegated to the executive branch. 

Articles 13 to 17 of Act Nº 25.188 provide the following:  

ARTICLE 13. — It is incompatible with the duties of the civil servant to:

a) Direct, administer, represent, sponsor, advise, or otherwise provide services to anyone who manages or holds a concession, is a purveyor to the State, or engages in activities regulated thereby, while the position held has direct functional jurisdiction over contracting, procurement, management or oversight of such concessions, benefits or activities;

b) Be a purveyor in their own right, or for third parties, to any agency of the State where they perform their duties. 

ARTICLE 14. — Civil servants who have been involved in a decision-making capacity in planning, implementation and finalization of privatizations or concessions of state-owned companies and utilities, are barred from participation in the regulating bodies or committees of said companies or utilities for three years after the last award in which they took part." 

ARTICLE 15. — Should any of the incompatibilities provided in Article 13 be met at the time of their appointment, the civil servant shall:

a) Desist from such activities as a precondition to taking up their duties; and

b) Refrain, during their tenure, from involvement in any matter specifically connected with persons or affairs with which they were involved during the previous three years, or in which they might have a corporate participation." 

ARTICLE 16. — These incompatibilities shall apply without prejudice to those contained in the special standards for each office. 

ARTICLE 17. — When any of the assumptions contained in Articles 13, 14 and 15 are met in connection with decisions issued by the persons contained in Article 1, those decisions shall be absolutely null and void, without prejudice to the rights of third parties who acted in good faith. Should the matter concern an administrative act, that act shall become absolutely null and void under the terms of Article 14 of Act 19.549.

The contracting firms and concessionaires bear joint and several responsibility for reparation of any damages caused to the State. 

Ministries Act: Furthermore, Articles 24 and 25 of the Ministries Act (Ordered Text Decree 438/92) sets out for officials directly appointed by the President (Head of the Cabinet, Ministers, Secretaries, and Under-Secretaries) special standards on conflicts of interest. Said standards are supplementary to the general standards contained in Act Nº 25.188. The above Articles provide as follows:  

Art. 24 – With the sole exception of teaching, during their tenure ministers, secretaries and under-secretaries shall refrain from any commercial activity, business, enterprise, or profession that is directly or indirectly connected with national, provincial or municipal powers, agencies or companies. 

Art. 25 – Moreover, they may not intervene in lawsuits, disputes, or proceedings in which the federal state, provinces, or municipalities are a party, nor engage in freelance professional activities or activities in which, though the State has no interest therein, their position as an official might sway the decision of the competent authority or disrupt the principle of equality before the law enshrined in Article 16 of the Constitution. 

Judiciary and Department of Justice (Attorney General's Office and Public Defender's Office) 

In the framework of the Judiciary and the Department of Justice, in addition to the Public Ethics Act (Nº 25.188), the judicial procedural codes contain special rules on self-disqualification (Articles 14 to 32 of the Code of Civil and Commercial Procedure, and Articles 55 to 64 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). 

b.   Are there mechanisms to enforce compliance with the above standards of conduct? If so, briefly describe them and list and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents. 

With regard to mechanisms to enforce the acts and decrees mentioned above, Decree 164/99, which contains the rules for application of Act 25.188, provides at Article 22 that officials shall present a statement of compliance with the standards on conflicts of interest set down in the Public Ethics Act.  

The Anti-Corruption Office processes cases that arise from three separate sources:

a) Integrated Financial Disclosures Unit;

b) Complaints filed by private individuals or civil servants both anonymously and overtly;

c) Queries made by implicated persons with respect to a given situation of conflict of interest. 

The punishment specifically provided for decisions issued in situations of conflict of interests is absolute nullity (Act 25.188, Article 17). The chapter on conflicts of interest in Act 25.188 does not contain any punishment for officials responsible.  

Nevertheless, Article 15 of that Act, amended by Decree 862/01, provides the obligation of self-disqualification from involvement in matters that entail a conflict of interests. That obligation applies to all civil servants or person hired to perform public duties. Under Article 3 of Act 25.188, breach of the above obligation gives rise to liability to the punishments provided in the Public Employment Act (Nº 25.164), namely caution, suspension, dismissal or discharge. 

In the case of political officials (under-secretaries, secretaries y ministers), while the decisions they issue are declared null and void, there are no punishments for them provided in Act 25.188, nor does Act 25.164 apply to them. Accordingly, it is necessary to advise the executive branch should such a situation arise.   

Furthermore, such conduct may constitute the crime of incompatible transactions (Article 265 of the Criminal Code)

Judiciary 

In the Judiciary the procedure for self-disqualification is as follows: either any party may request the recusation of the judge; or the latter is required to recuse himself or herself ex officio. The judge presents his or her arguments and the matter is referred to the superior court for a decision. Until a decision is reached on the recusation, the judicial proceeding is assigned to another court. Judges who fail to recuse themselves are liable to disciplinary sanctions imposed by the Judicial Council, or, if the offense is considered sufficiently serious to warrant removal for misconduct, to a removal hearing before the Judicial Conduct Board or the Senate, according to whether they are a lower court judge or a supreme court justice.  

Federal External Audit Office (AGN) 

At the Federal External Audit Office, Chapter II, Article 3 of Employees Statute sets forth the situations in which employment at the agency is prohibited. The provision mentions anyone who engages in another occupation in the public or private sector that is manifestly ethically incompatible with the functions of the Federal External Audit Office (clause j).  

Statements of incompatibility and conflict of interest are processed at the Federal External Audit Office by the Division of Human Resources Development and Allocation [Departamento de Desarrollo y Asignación de Recursos Humanos], under the Department of Administration and Finance [Gerencia de Administración y Finanzas], which may institute a summary administrative proceeding in order to punish an agent involved in a situation of conflict of interests.  

All agents (on both the permanent and the temporary staff) are required to submit statements of incompatibility as a precondition to their entry (Article 5 of the Employees Statute). These statements must be renewed annually. 

Ombudsman  

The punishments for violation of the rules on conflicts of interest are caution, suspension of up to 10 days, dismissal or discharge (Article 28 of the Employees Statute). Imposition of a caution or a suspension of up to 10 days does not require a prior summary administrative proceeding. 

Department of Justice: Attorney General's Office and Public Defender's Office  

Article 71 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that officials of the Department of Justice shall disqualify themselves on the same grounds as those provided for judges, with the exception of the provisions contained in the first part of Article 55 (8) and 55 (10).  

c.   Briefly state the results that have been obtained in implementing the above standards and mechanisms, attaching the pertinent statistical information, if available. 

As of June 30, 2002, the Anti-Corruption Office has reviewed 491 Financial Disclosure Statements submitted by civil servants, in order to identify possible cases of conflict of interests and violation of the prohibition against holding more than one salaried position in the public sector (incompatibilities).  

In the area of conflict of interests, 78 cases have been resolved and made public on the web site (www.anticorrupcion.jus.gov.ar).  

The Anti-Corruption Office has also answered an unspecified number of queries from officials regarding their particular positions with respect to the laws on public ethics.    

Broadly speaking, most cases in connection with Article 13 (a) and 15 of Act 25.188 -before the amendment of the latter article by Decree 862/01- led to preventive recommendations of self-disqualification so that the official in question might avoid a conflict of interests over private activities prior to taking office, or in cases where it was found that the civil servant continued to engage in private activities under the direct functional jurisdiction of the office they held. In the latter cases either the official was requested to disassociate themselves from such private activities or recommended to disqualify themselves (examples of cases of both types: Gallo, Gadano, Montamat; Giorgi; Lombardi; Saliva; Embón; Terranova-Ducros).  

There have been cases under Article 13 (b) of Act 25.188 in which officials have been prohibited from being purveyors to the agency they serve (case of Iaies, Porcel, Aldini, Farías Bouvier; Novak).  

In two cases, the civil servants in question were recommended to implement transparency mechanisms to ensure the participation of sectors affected by certain standards or a particular decision to be adopted. In that way the official avoids having their impartiality questioned, and greater legitimacy is assured for the decision ultimately adopted (Case of "Aguiar" and "Chevallier Boutell").  

Also examined were cases in connection with the rules on conflict of interests contained in the Ministries Act (Cases of Mariscotti, Tizado and Kohan). In those cases, since the Anti-Corruption Office is not the enforcement authority, the records were referred to the executive branch together with suggested preventive recommendations (in the Tizado case), or so that the measures deemed appropriate be adopted since it had been determined that there had been a breach of the rules (Cases of Mariscotti and Kohan).  

Judiciary:  

There are countless cases of recusation in the thousands of lawsuits that are ongoing or have been closed.  

Federal External Audit Office:  

There is no record of violations of the rules on conflict of interests.

Ombudsman: 

There is no record of cases involving conflict of interests among its officials.  

Department of Justice: Attorney General's Office and Public Defender's Office  

There are countless cases of recusation in the thousands of lawsuits that are ongoing or have been closed 

Senate:  

We have no information that there is any record of cases of conflict of interests.  

The following agencies have not provided the requested information to the Anti-Corruption Office of the Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights as the contact point for the reply to the present questionnaire:  

Chamber of Deputies; Judicial Council.  

3.   Conservation and proper use of resources entrusted to public officials in the performance of their functions 

a.   Are there standards of conduct in your country that govern the conservation and proper use of resources entrusted to public officials in the performance of their functions? If yes, briefly describe them, indicating aspects such as to whom they apply and whether there are exceptions, and list and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents. 

As regards conservation and proper use of funds -as distinct from provisions of criminal law on embezzlement of public funds, which are addressed by Article XI of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and are unrelated to this questionnaire-, the general laws applicable to all civil servants in every branch of government contain the following standards of conduct:  

Article 27 of the Code of Public Ethics (Decree Nº 41/99): -PROPER USE OF STATE ASSETS. Public officials shall protect and conserve the assets of the State. They shall use the assets they have been allocated in a rational manner, avoiding misuse, waste or squandering.

Moreover, they may not use them or allow others to use them for personal ends or for purposes other than those for which they have been specifically intended. The activities officials must perform outside of office hours or premises for purposes of government business shall not be considered personal ends. 

Article 2 (f) of the Public Ethics Act (Nº 25.188) makes it a duty and standards of ethical conduct for public officials to: Protect and conserve State property and only to use its assets for approved purposes; refrain from using information acquired in the performance of their functions to engage in activities not related to their official duties or to permit its use for the benefit of private interests.  

In addition, with respect to civil service employees in the executive branch, under Article 23 (l) of the Public Employment Act (Nº 25.164), it is the duty of civil servants "to ensure the care and conservation of assets that are the property of the State and of those of third parties specifically placed in their safekeeping."  

Furthermore, Act 24.156 includes a government accounting system that is attached in electronic format. 

See also in electronic format detailed information provided by the Senate, Ombudsman and Attorney General's Office.  

We have not received replies in this regard from the Chamber of Deputies, the Federal Supreme Court of Justice, the Judicial Council and the Public Defender's Office. 

b.   Are there mechanisms to enforce compliance with the above standards of conduct? If so, briefly describe them and list and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents. 

The specific mechanisms to enforce compliance with the above-transcribed standards are given in the replies to Chapter One, 1. General standards of conduct and mechanisms, point b).  

Civil Service – Executive Branch

Federal Comptroller's Office (SIGEN)  

The Public Sector Financial Administration and Oversight Systems Act (24.156) provided the creation of the FEDERAL COMPTROLLER'S OFFICE (SIGEN, by its initials in Spanish) and gives it powers with respect to internal oversight of budgetary, economic, financial, asset-related, regulatory, and administrative matters of the jurisdictions that comprise the national executive branch, as well as of decentralized agencies, and state-owned enterprises and companies.  

As the internal oversight organ of the executive branch and governing body of the internal oversight system, the SIGEN, in exercise of its legally conferred powers, issues, enforces and supervises compliance with the Civil Service internal oversight standards contained in the framework of a comprehensive and integrated supervision model and grounded in principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. 

This oversight system also comprises internal audit units set up within each jurisdiction and in all entities under the supervision of the executive branch. Hierarchically these units are under the supervision of the supreme authority of each agency and act in coordination with the SIGEN.  

Under Article 101 of Act 24.156, the oversight body of each jurisdiction or entity of the executive is responsible for the maintenance and proper functioning of an internal oversight system therein. The internal audit units shall faithfully and immediately report to the SIGEN the breach of any of the standards that govern the internal oversight systems and financial administration of their respective jurisdiction or entity. 

The role of Federal Comptroller's Office is basically to supervise, direct, and coordinate the internal oversight and internal audit systems that are set up in all units of the federal public sector. 

Federal External Audit Office: 

Act 24.156 governs the application of Article 85 of the Constitution (following the 1994 constitutional reform), which created in the framework of the legislature the Federal External Audit Office as the external oversight body of the administration, with functional and financial independence.  

This agency exercises the powers accorded by Article 118 of Law 24.156, and its tasks include to supervise compliance with legal and statutory provisions regarding the use of state resources, and to conduct financial, legal compliance and administrative audits. The Federal External Audit Office, created in the framework of the National Congress, is, in turn, under the oversight of the Joint Parliamentary Committee for Accounts Inspection composed of six legislators from both Chamber of the Congress. 

Article 117 grants powers to conduct subsequent external oversight of budgetary, economic, financial, asset, legal and management administration matters, and to issue opinions on the accounting and financial statements of the central administration, decentralized agencies, state-owned enterprises and companies, public utility regulators, and private entities that have purchased companies in privatization processes as regards performance of their obligations under the respective agreements.  

The foregoing provision also extends to this office powers to conduct subsequent external oversight of the Congress and, subject to agreement, the federal judiciary. 

Under the system provided in Act 24.156, the Federal External Audit Office carries out its functions in accordance with an annual program of action on external oversight which it submits for approval to the Joint Parliamentary Committee for Accounts Inspection and Joint Committee of Budget and Finance (pursuant to Articles 125 (a) and 129 (a). 

With respect to the scope of an audit, it must be consistent with oversight and auditing criteria, and with standards that conform to an integrated external oversight and audit model that encompasses financial, legal and economic aspects, as well as efficiency and effectiveness (in accordance with Article 119 (d) of Act 24.156). 

The system contained in Act 24.156 is applied after the fact; that is, the audit is conducted on compliance with legal and statutory provisions on the use of state resources after the respective documents have been released. 

c.   Briefly state the results that have been obtained in implementing the above standards and mechanisms, attaching the pertinent statistical information, if available. 

The SIGEN web site contains many reports wherein it is possible to appreciate the working methodology (http://www.sigen.gov.ar/main.html).  

By way of an example, we forward to the Committee of Experts a report in connection with the Federal Social Security Institute for Retirees and Pensioners [Instituto Nacional de Servicios Sociales para Jubilados y Pensionados], specifically in connection with existing internal controls on goods and services procurement operations of the Unidad Policlínicos PAMI-Rosario Integradas (UPPRI). 

With respect to results obtained by the Federal External Audit Office, as with the SIGEN, there is a large number of reports published on its web site (http://www.agn.gov.ar/). 

Also by way of an example we forward to the Committee of Experts a report on an audit on the financial statements of the "Third Social Protection Project" (World Bank Loan Agreement N° 4366-ar BIRF). 

4. Measures and systems requiring public officials to report to appropriate authorities acts of corruption in the performance of public functions of which they are aware 

a.   Are there standards of conduct in your country that establish measures and systems governing the requirement that public officials report to appropriate authorities acts of corruption in public office of which they are aware? If yes, briefly describe them, indicating aspects such as to whom they apply and if there are any exceptions, and list and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents. 

The requirement that public officials report to the authorities acts of corruption is contained in the Federal Code of Criminal Procedure, which obligates civil servants to report offenses that are prosecutable ex officio, should such acts come to their attention in the performance of their functions (Article 177 (1), Act 23.984). Regulations governing this requirement to report offenses have been issued in framework of the executive branch, at centralized and decentralized levels, by Decree 1162/00 (BO 12-12-00), which provides that civil servants shall comply with this obligation by filing a report with the Anti-Corruption Office.  

Article 31 of the Code of Public Ethics (Decree 41/99, published in the Official Gazette of February 3, 1999) creates the obligation for civil servants to report any acts that come to their attention as a result or in the course of the performance of their functions, and which might cause harm to the state or constitute a criminal offense or a violation of any provision contained in the above Code.  

Furthermore, the Anti-Corruption Office, created by Article 13 of the Ministries Act (Act 25.233, published in the Official Gazette of December 14, 1999), governed in this connection by Decree 102/99, of December 23, 1999, has the power to report to the competent judicial authority any facts that, based on its investigations, constitute a crime (Article 2 (d) of the aforesaid decree).  

b.   Are there mechanisms to enforce compliance with the above standards of conduct? If so, briefly describe them and list and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents. 

Failure to report such acts may lead to summary administrative proceedings and the following punishments: caution, suspension, dismissal or discharge.  

Furthermore, failure to report such acts is a crime under Article 277 of the Criminal Code, which at the pertinent part provides, "Anyone who, following the perpetration of a crime committed by another person which they did not participate, shall be punished with a term of imprisonment of between six months and three years: ...d) Anyone who fails to report the perpetration of a crime, or to identify the perpetrator of, or partner in, a crime already known about, when they are required to assist in the prosecution of such crimes."  

c.         Briefly state the results that have been obtained in implementing the above standards and mechanisms, attaching the pertinent statistical information, if available. 

ANTI-CORRUPTION OFFICE (AO) 

Year

2000

2001

Number of complaints

1076

714

Complaints filed with the AO by other agencies

104 (10%)

100 (14%)

Presented to the courts

172 (16%)

 

317 (44%)

  

Investigation files opened since December 1999

Total

2003

 

Presented to the courts

615

31%

Referred to other agencies

384

19%

Under investigation

351

18%

Closed

653

32%

  

Origin of complaints by oversight agency

 

2000

2001

SIGEN + AGN*

1%

4%

Ex officio by the AO

10%

40%

 *Complaints presented by the AO that originated in reports filed by the Civil Service oversight agencies (Federal Comptroller's Office (SIGEN) and the Federal External Audit Office (AGN)). 

Department of Justice, Attorney General's Office  

Attached is a report in electronic format containing the statistics of the Office of the Federal Prosecutor for Administrative Enquiries [Fiscalía Nacional de Investigaciones Administrativas] (FNIA).

 CHAPTER TWO 

SYSTEMS FOR REGISTERING INCOME, ASSETS AND LIABILITIES

(ARTICLE III, 4) 

a.   Are there regulations in your country establishing methods for registering the income, assets and liabilities of those who perform public functions in certain posts as specified by law and, where appropriate, for making such disclosures public? If yes, briefly describe them, indicating aspects like to whom they apply and when the declaration must be presented, the content of the declaration, and how the information given is verified, accessed, and used. List and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents. 

The of comprehensive public financial disclosures system is an oversight tool that makes it possible to examine movements in the assets of civil servants and to detect possible situations of conflicts of interest in which they might be involved.  

The Public Ethics Act (Nº 25.188) (published in the Official Gazette of November 1, 1999), provides at Chapter III rules on public financial disclosure statements (Articles 4 to 11), including the list of officials required to submit them (Article 5 (a) to (v)). The aforesaid article includes, inter alia, political officials (ministers, secretaries, and under-secretaries) and high-ranking career civil servants in the executive branch, national legislators, federal judges and representatives of the Attorney General's Office.  

In the framework of the Civil Service, the Anti-Corruption Office is the administrative body of the financial disclosures system, through the Financial Disclosures Unit [Unidad de Declaraciones Juradas] of the Transparency Policy Planning Division [Dirección de Planificación de Políticas de Transparencia].  

The Administrative Inspector of the Anti-Corruption Office, by Resolutions OA 6/00 (B.O. 7-8-00) and 1/2002 (B.O. 18-1-02), established certain criteria to determine the total number civil servants required to present financial disclosure statements.  

Currently that number comes to 26,500 officials.   

Financial Disclosure Statements pertain to the public domain and may be consulted by any individual or body corporate at the Anti-Corruption Office, which has 72 business hours in which to furnish a copy thereof (Article 16, Resolution MJyDH Nº 1000/00).  

Persons who wish to consult financial disclosure statements are required to submit a written request stating: a) Given name, surname, identity document, and domicile of the requester; b) Name and domicile of any other person or organization on whose behalf the statement is requested; c) Reason for the request and the intended use of the report; and d) Statement that the requester is aware of the contents of Article 11 of this Act on misuse of financial disclosure statements and of the punishment provided for persons who request financial disclosure statements and use them in an unlawful manner.  

Consultation requests also remain open to public access for the duration of statutory period for which the statements must be kept. 

Article 20 of the aforesaid decree provides that the list of financial disclosure statements shall be published within 90 days in the Official Gazette and on the Internet; this requirement has been met. (See the web site of the Anti-Corruption Office with the full list of persons in compliance and in default - www.anticorrupcion.jus.gov.ar). In order to enable presentation of financial disclosure statements by computer (previously they were submitted on paper forms), Decree 808/00 (BO. 25-9-00) was issued reforming Decree 164/99, in addition to which Resolution MJyDH 1000/00 (BO 18-10-00) was issued and subsequently amended by Resolution 10/2001 (B.O. 7-1-02).               

General guidelines on the computerized system for presentation of financial disclosure statements: 

The rules on financial disclosure statements require officials to provide complete information on their assets, those of their spouse and those of their minor children at the time of taking office; they must also submit a statement annually and upon leaving office.  

Disclosure statements have two parts: one for public information and the other for confidential information. 

The form for public information on assets requests general data about immovable and movable property, whether it is subject to registration or not, situated abroad or otherwise, its value, area where its is located; cash deposits, holdings in public stocks or securities, or other financial investments; corporate holdings; other income earned from freelance activities or as an employee.  

Furthermore, in order to detect possible conflicts of interest, civil servants are required to provide details of their employment history (Article 12, Act Nº 25.188).  

Details about the assets that comprise the net worth are adequately protected and are exempt from public disclosure.  

In that regard, Article 18 of Decree 164/99 excludes from public disclosure certain data regarding the following:  

a) Name of the bank or financial entity in which they have cash deposits;

b) Numbers of checking accounts, savings accounts, safety deposit boxes, credit cards and extensions thereof;

c) Income tax returns or personal assets that are not part of the economic process;

d) Details of the location of immovable properties;

e) Identification or registration data of movable properties subject to registration;

f) Any other limitation provided by law." 

The Anti-Corruption Office developed special software to enable computerized submission of financial disclosure statements. The software was made available to civil servants required to submit such information via the Internet, CD-ROMs and agency intranets. Using this application, officials complete the disclosure form (both the part for public consumption and the part for confidential information). The application also allows them to store their information on file, saving them both time and effort when they come to submit their next statement. 

As to penalties, Regulation 164/99 of December 28, 1999, provides at Article 9 that failure to comply with the obligation shall be communicated to the Anti-Corruption Office, and to the supreme supervising authority over the official in order to order the respective summary proceeding through the Treasury Attorney Generals’ Office [Procuración del Tesoro de la Nación] or the relevant legal service. 

Furthermore, the Anti-Corruption Office shall file the necessary complaint. Article 10 of the above-mentioned Regulation states that failure to submit a financial disclosure statement may result in the withholding of the salary of the agent in default until he or she meets the obligation.  

Moreover, failure to file a financial disclosure statement, or falsification of data, may give rise to criminal liability: Article 268 (3) of the Criminal Code provides imprisonment or special perpetual ineligibility for deliberate omission to file a financial disclosure statement.   

Federal Judiciary  

By Decision 1/2000 of February 9, 2000, the federal judiciary approved the regulations on implementation of the provisions on financial disclosure statements contained in Act 25.188. 

In summary, the rules are as follows:  

Judges are required to present a complete annual financial disclosure statement about their assets and liabilities, and those of their spouse and minor children.  

In the event of a request to consult a financial disclosure statement, Article 5 provides that a confidential file will be opened which may only be consulted by the petitioner, the judge whose disclosure statement is requested, and their respective lawyers.

Article 6 provides that the General Administration of the Court shall verify compliance with Article 10 of Act Nº 25.188.

Article 7 provides that before a decision is reached on the admissibility of a request for a financial disclosure statement, the judge or official will be given an opportunity to express their opinion on the admissibility of the request.  

Article 8 provides that the Supreme Court shall decide based on a well-reasoned decision whether to grant or refuse access to the information contained in financial disclosure statements.  

Finally, Article 9 provides that if the decision is in the affirmative, the financial disclosure statement shall be opened in the presence of the judge or official in question.  

Senate 

See the attached report in electronic format.

Federal External Audit Office 

The rules of the Federal External Audit Office on financial disclosure statements are governed by Auditors Association order 150/99 and order 87/02 amending it.  

Under those orders the Internal Audit Office is responsible for the receipt, conservation, custody, filing, registry, and ensuring compliance with the obligation to submit financial disclosure statements on the part of officials of the Federal External Audit Office.  

Order 150/99 provides that the following officials have that obligation:  

·         Auditors General;

·         Officials on the three highest staff salary levels of the Federal External Audit Office;

·         All other officials who in the internal framework of the External Audit Office sign opinions or reports that externally bind the opinion of the entity, are involved in management of funds, liquidation of expenses, negotiation of contracts; or sit on committees for selection of suppliers or contractors of goods and services.  

The aforementioned officials shall submit their financial disclosure statements: 

·         Within 30 days of taking up their duties.

·         Annually; the deadline is in December, in accordance with the timetable established by the Internal Audit Office.

·         Upon resignation or dismissal; within 30 days after leaving office.  

The statements shall include a breakdown of their domestic- and foreign-origin assets, income and expenditure (under the terms of Article 6 of the Public Ethics Act - 25.188) as well as those of their spouse, cohabitant, and minor children, should any of the latter own assets.  

As regards access to the information contained in the statements, order 87/02 has introduced rules that are more open than those provided by its forerunner (order 150/99). Thus, it was determined that the list of financial disclosure statements of obligated people should be published at the Internal Audit Office, in the Official Gazette, and on the Federal External Audit Office web site within 90 days of receipt.  

The rules also provide that anyone may at any time consult and obtain a copy of the financial disclosure statements presented by submitting a written application providing:  

a)   Personal data of the requester.

b)   Name and domiciles of the organization on whose behalf the statement is requested.

c)   Object and purpose of the request

d)   A statement that the requester is familiar with the contents of Article 11 of Act 25.188 regarding the improper use of financial disclosure statements.  

Ombudsman  

Ombudsman resolution 289/00 has provided rules on application of the Public Ethics Act (25.188) (see resolution 289/00 attached in electronic format). 

The Ombudsman authorizes access to financial disclosure statements for any citizen who makes such a request, subject to prior examination of the motive for the request. 

Department of Justice, Attorney General's Office 

Financial disclosure statements have been in the public domain since 1997.

Thereafter, as a result of the passing of the Public Ethics Act (25.188) it became necessary to adapt the system for submission and receipt of financial disclosure statements to the new legal regulations. In that context resolution 1045/99-superintendency and, later, resolutions Per 847/00 and 876/00 were adopted. These norms provided comprehensive regulations on the system in that framework. Finally, the procedure for consultation of financial disclosure statements was created by resolution PGN 81/00. 

Salient Points  

·     Presentation on entry and departure. An annual update is only necessary in the event of changes in net worth (Arts. 2 and 7, res. PER 847/00).

·     The government attorney designates a judge or official to receive and have custody of the disclosure statements. That official shall not be empowered to control or review the contents of financial disclosure statements, whose accuracy and veracity are the sole responsibility of the agents required to submit them (Art. 4, res. PER 847/00).

·     The statement contains complete information on their assets and liabilities, as well as those of their spouse and minor children.

·     Consultation rules: (res. PGN Nº 81/00): the interested party is required to complete an application form meeting the requirements contained in Article 10, de la Act Nº 25.188 (Article 2º). 

·     Before a decision is made on the admissibility of the request, the prosecutor or official whose statement has been requested for consultation, shall as a matter of obligation, be given the opportunity to express his or her opinion on the admissibility of the request (Article 3º). 

·     The Attorney General shall decide based on sound reasoning whether to grant or refuse access to the information contained in financial disclosure statements, following the request of an advisory opinion from the Legal Advisory Office of the Attorney General's Office.  

Department of Justice, Public Defender's Office:

The regulations governing the system for submission of financial disclosure statements was adopted by resolution DGN Nº 436/99, amended by resolution 1119/99. 

Salient points:  

·     Presentation on entry and departure. An annual update is only necessary in the event of changes in net worth of the person who makes the presentation, their spouse, or minor children (Art.  4. Res DGN 436/99).

·     The statement contains complete information on their assets and liabilities, as well as those of their spouse and minor children.

·     Rules on access and consultation: Resolution 1119/99 provides, "The information presented in financial disclosure statements shall pertain to the public domain and may be divulged upon presentation in writing of a justified request by any member of the public. The official or attorney concerned of the Public Defender's Office shall have sight of the request and may object to its divulgation...” The foregoing is without prejudice to an order presented by a judge in the framework of a lawsuit.  

b.   Briefly state the results that have been obtained in implementing the above standards and mechanisms, attaching the pertinent statistical information, if available. 

Civil Service:

The tables below serve to illustrate the initial impact on the Civil Service of the new system administered by the Anti-Corruption Office. The figures are for the year in progress. 

Compliance 

 

Previous System

Electronic System

Civil Servants

       36,000

26,500

Compliance

24,198

(67%)

 

2,800 entries and exits * 98% compliance

 

22,080 a year 

96% compliance **

 

*    Civil servants entering or leaving a position: 2,000 entries and 1,500 exits in 2002.

** Percentage as of June 12, 2002 

Number of disclosure statements consulted  

 

Previous System

New System

By Internet

No system

361

Paper forms

66

474

Total requests

66

835

 

Estimated cost per disclosure statement * 

Previous System

New System

70 pesos per form

7 pesos per form

 * Exchange rate: US$ 1.00 = 3.65 pesos  

User Profiles  

 

Previous System

New System

Requested by the press

43

706

Requested by the public

23

129

  

Impact on Cases of Conflict of Interests 

 

Previous System

(1999)

New System

(2000 - 2001)

Cases

40

491

 

Federal External Audit Office: 

Compliance is close to 100% thanks to the experience gained and successive improvements designed to raise the efficiency of the system. 

Ombudsman: 

There has been 100% compliance in financial disclosure statement submissions 

Department of Justice, Attorney General's Office:

There has been 100% compliance from those required to present financial disclosure statements. 

Department of Justice, Public Defender's Office:  

We have not received data on compliance or on volume of requests for access to financial disclosure statements.  

The following agencies have not provided the requested information to the Anti-Corruption Office of the Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights as the contact point for the reply to the present questionnaire:

Chamber of Deputies; Federal Supreme Court of Justice; Judicial Council  

CHAPTER THREE  

OVERSIGHT BODIES

 a.   Are there oversight bodies charged with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with the provisions stated in Article III (1), (2) and (4)? If yes, list and briefly describe their functions and characteristics, and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents. 

The Anti-Corruption Office was created in the framework of the Civil Service by Article 13 of the Ministries Act (No. 25.233 published in the Official Gazette of December 14, 1999), which is governed in this respect by Decree 102/99, of December 23, 1999

Among other powers, the above-mentioned office has authority over the functions mentioned in Article III (1), (2), (4), and (11) of the Convention.   

The top-ranking official of the Anti-Corruption Office is an Administrative Oversight Inspector with the rank of government secretary; immediately under him or her are two under-secretaries: one in charge of Investigations and the other of Transparency Policy Planning.  

These officials are appointed and removed by the President of the Nation at the suggestion of the Minister Justice, Security and Human Rights.  

The Transparency Policy Planning Division designs anti-corruption policies for the federal public sector. Under the aforementioned Decree 102/99 its main functions are to:  

Develop and suggest indicators of institutional, social and economic significance in order to target cases and areas where the Anti-Corruption Office should focus its activities; 

Analyze cases under investigation in order to determine their structural causes with a view to designing preventive measures and policies; 

Propose and assist in the implementation of the necessary legal and administrative reforms to enhance transparency in the civil service; 

Manage the financial disclosures system for public officials, as well as to determine cases of incompatibility and conflicts of interest in their activities, in accordance with the Public Ethics Act (25.188). 

Under Decree 102/99 the main function of the Investigations Division is to carry out investigations into the conduct of civil servants, in accordance with the terms of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. Those duties include to:  

Receive complaints from private individuals or agents of the state on allegedly unlawful acts and determine if, according to indicators contained in the plan of action, they constitute acts of institutional, social or economic significance; 

Encourage the institution of summary administrative proceedings or of civil or criminal judicial proceedings, or any other measure deemed appropriate in a particular case, and to follow up thereon; 

Assess any information transmitted by the media in connection with the existence of irregularities in the context of its functions and, as appropriate, adopt the necessary measures; 

Act, within its jurisdiction, as the plaintiff in proceedings that affect the assets of the State. This entails not only reporting alleged crimes to law enforcement, but also proposing measures to further proceedings, such as to offer, produce or include evidence, or appeal against decisions that are adverse to their claims. 

b.   Briefly state the results that said oversight bodies have obtained in complying with the previous functions, attaching the pertinent statistical information, if available.  

With respect to the results obtained by the Anti-Corruption Office in the framework of the Civil Service, please see the replies to the specific questions on Articles III (1), (2), (4), (11), and XIV of the Convention.  

 CHAPTER FOUR  

PARTICIPATION BY CIVIL SOCIETY (ARTICLE III, NUMBER 11) 

1. General questions on the mechanisms for participation 

a.   Are there in your country a legal framework and mechanisms to encourage participation by civil society and non-governmental organizations in efforts to prevent corruption? If so, briefly describe them and list and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents. 

In the Argentine Republic there are various constitutional provisions and rules concerning matters relating to the fight against corruption, transparency and citizen participation through civil society organizations. In this connection we could mention: 

Citizen Participation/ Consultation mechanisms/ Access to information – Constitution and related norms: 

ISSUE

Constitution

Norms

Political parties (Transparency of activities, ideas, funds and assets)

Art. 38

Act Nº 25.600

Access to information for consumers and users

Art. 42

Act 24.240

Decree 229/2000 (Program “Letter of Commitment to the Public”)

Promotion of consumer and user association participation

Art. 42

Act 24.240

Decree 229/2000 (Program “Letter of Commitment to the Public”

Writ of Amparo against violations of, or curbs, on constitutional rights.

Art. 43

(Active legitimization granted to Consumer and User Associations)

Act 16.986 (Amparo)

 

 Other regulations on citizen participation in, and oversight of, public administration

 

ISSUE

Norms

Program “Letter of Commitment to the Public”

Decree 229/2000

Approval of the National State Modernization Plan

Decree 103/2001

Creation of the National Social Policy Coordination Council (includes civil society participation in development, promotion and oversight of social policies)

Decree 357/2002

 Bills connected with citizen participation in, and oversight of, public administration, as well as access to information:

 

Bill

Issue

Author (s) of the bill

Access to Information Act

Free public access to information in the possession of the state, with limited exceptions

Anti-Corruption Office

Various deputies and senators

Transparency of Lobbying Act

Proposes to make public the agendas of officials, legislators, and judges in the course of their duties.

Anti-Corruption Office

 

Lobbying Regulation Act

Proposes to regulate the activities of lobbyists

Anti-Corruption Office

Various deputies and senators

Proposed Decree on creation of “Pro-Transparency Public Hearing Programs” and on “Participatory Rulemaking” (as well as draft regulations for both proposed laws)

Proposes to include as normal consultation mechanisms Public Hearings and Participatory Rulemaking (similar to the procedure in the United States).

Anti-Corruption Office

 

 b.   Briefly state the results that have been obtained in implementing the above standards and mechanisms, attaching the pertinent statistical information, if available. 

In Argentina the above mechanisms have obtained a variety of results: 

-     Approximately a score of “Letters of Commitment” have been signed at public agencies (consult the web page at http://www.cristal.gov.ar/front/metas/carta_compromiso/main.html)

-     Public hearings have been held in the framework of public utility regulation bodies.

-     Civil society organizations take part in consultation and oversight committees for social programs. 

2. Mechanisms for access to information 

a.   Are there mechanisms in your country that regulate and facilitate the access of civil society and non-governmental organizations to information under the control of public institutions? Is so, describe them briefly, and indicating, for example, before which entity or agency said mechanisms may be presented and under what criteria the petitions are evaluated. List and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents.  

Some legal norms in this area: 

ISSUE

Constitution

Norms

Political parties (Transparency of activities, ideas, funds and assets)

Art. 38

Act Nº 25.600

Access to information for consumers and users

Art. 42

Act 24.240

Decree 229/2000 (Program “Letter of Commitment to the Public”)

Promotion of consumer and user association participation

Art. 42

Act 24.240

Decree 229/2000 (Program “Letter of Commitment to the Public”)

Personal Data Protection Act

Art. 43

Act 25.326 (Habeas data)

 Some web sites concerning access to information       

URL

Agency:

www.cristal.gov.ar

Office of the Head of the Cabinet

www.anticorrupcion.jus.gov.ar

Anti-Corruption Office

www.onc.mecon.gov.ar

National Procurement Office

www.sgp.gov.ar

Secretariat for Public Administration

 2. ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT 

Argentina does not have a federal law on access to information; however, the Anti-Corruption Office of the Argentine Republic has recently prepared and submitted a bill to in that connection. The President of Argentina has signed the bill and sent it to Congress for consideration. 

The bill prepared by the executive branch entered the Chamber of Deputies on March 18, 2002 (message 519, file No.10/02, P.E). It is anticipated that the Congress will soon pass the bill.

NATIONAL OFFICE FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT

One of the specifically mentioned activities that stems from the chief responsibilities of the Public Employment Office (ONEP) is the need to furnish to the general public information about public employment and the applicable standards.

In keeping with those responsibilities the ONEP has created various mechanisms in order to carry out its activities (see report attached in electronic format).

b.   Briefly state the results that have been obtained in implementing the above standards and mechanisms, attaching the pertinent statistical information, if available.

Given the absence of a federal law on access to information, it is not possible to collect information about the number of requests made by the public. Nonetheless, requests have been submitted that invoke Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights and Article 14 of the Constitution. 

3. Mechanisms for consultation 

a.   Are there mechanisms in your country for those who perform public functions to consult civil society and non-governmental organizations on matters within their sphere of competence, which can be used for the purpose of preventing, detecting, punishing, and eradicating public corruption? If so, briefly describe them and list and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents.

Mechanisms for public consultation and public hearings to enable citizen participation in and oversight of public administration:

 

1.         National Telecommunications Commission

 

2.         Regulation of the Transport and Distribution of Natural Gas / Privatization of the State Gas Company, Gas del Estado S.E. 

 

3.         Electrical Energy Regulations

 

4.         Approval of the administrative regulatory standards on different aspects of the public water distribution and sewage services under the control of the state water company, Obras Sanitarias de la Nación

 

5.         Approval of the Regulations for Consultation of the Opinion of the National Airports Regulating Body.

 

6.         Internet-based Public Consultation Mechanism used by the National Drug, Food and Medical Technology Administration (ANMAT)   

 

 

 

7.         National Transport Regulation Commission (CNRT)  

 

8.         National Communications Commission (CNC)  

 

9.         National Nuclear Regulation Body (ENREN)   

 

10.        Licensing Authority for the Buenos Aires Road Access System (OCRABA)   

 

 

 

1.         Decree 1185/90

 

2.         Act 24.076

 

 

 

3.         Act 24.065

 

4.         Decree 999/92

 

 

 

 

5.         ORSNA Resolution 173/98

 

6.         MERCOSUR Resolution GMC 152/96 – Point 5.2 of the MERCOSUR Technical Regulations

 

7.         Decrees 660/96 and 1388/96

8.         Decree 660/96

 

9.         Decree 1540/94

 

10.        Decree 1994/93

 

Ministry of the Interior:  

ARGENTINE DIALOGUE 

Toward the end of 2001 and in light of the profound crisis in Argentina, it became necessary to bring together representatives from different sectors of Argentine society in order to hold discussions and find solutions to this situation. In January 2002, President Eduardo Duhalde convened a national dialogue with the assistance of the Catholic Church, experts and professionals of the United Nations Development Program, and civil society organizations. This was called the Argentine Dialogue Table.

Since then 800 institutions from all over the country have taken part, accompanied by more than 80 professionals and experts from different fields. 

There are other forums in which civil society and nongovernmental organizations are invited to take part in permanent consultation: 

·         Committee for Follow-up on Political Reform Measures. This forum was created in the framework of the Federal Agreement for Reform of the Argentine Political System of March 3, 2002. Representatives of the federal state and civil society organizations participate in the Committee. 

·         Advisory Committee for Public Policy Planning. Created on April 18, 2002 by the Ministry of the Interior and the nongovernmental organizations that form the so-called the Citizen's Lobby [Cabildo Abierto Ciudadano]. 

b.   Briefly state the results that have been obtained in implementing the above standards and mechanisms, attaching the pertinent statistical information, if available.  

Public hearings have been held as normal.  

As regards the Argentine dialogue process, all the necessary instruments are in place to achieve the best possible results. Indeed, the Committee for Follow-up on Political Reform Measures has worked diligently, constantly supplying information to the NGOs involved in the Committee and providing training at both the provincial and the municipal government level.  Work meetings are held weekly, in addition to which there have been meetings with representatives from different sectors of society, such as universities, various professional associations, political experts, and women's organizations.

The Advisory Committee for Public Policy Planning has held work meetings in accordance with the provisions contained in its creation document. 

4. Mechanisms to encourage active participation in public administration  

a.   Are there mechanisms in your country to facilitate, promote, and obtain the active participation of civil society and non-governmental organizations in the process of public policy making and decision making, in order to meet the purposes of preventing, detecting, punishing and eradicating acts of public corruption? If so, briefly describe them and list and attach the related provisions and documents. 

PARTICIPATORY RULEMAKING PROCESS - ANTICORRUPTION OFFICE 

The Anti-Corruption Office designed and implemented a mechanism known as the "Participatory Rulemaking Process" (or EPN by its initials in Spanish), which is similar to the rulemaking procedure under United States law. Its chief aim is to design a transparent and participatory system for drafting laws and making decisions. 

What was the mechanism developed for?  – Objectives 

-     The Participatory Rulemaking Process enables the author of a bill to obtain information, opinions and comments on the subject matter that it concerns.  

-     The process increases the technical quality, transparency, and legitimacy of decision-making, as well as broadening consensus in that regard. These results are obtained as a consequence of stimulation of stakeholder participation and keeping the public properly informed.

Brief description of the mechanism 

-     In broad terms the process entails submission of a draft bill for analysis and comment by experts, stakeholders and members of the public.  

-     Consultations are conducted 

·          Through the media (newspapers advertisements placed by institutions)

·          Through workshops that specifically target predetermined social sectors which would feel the effects of the bill; or that cover themes connected with the central issue addressed by the bill.

·          Over the Internet (the text of the bill is made available to the public and an electronic mail address is set up so that anyone interested can write in to the Office with their opinions on the bill.)

·          By mail (postal or electronic), the bill is sent to a mailing list of social actors who can add their input on the bill and give us their opinions.  

-     The suggestions, contributions and opinions of participants are collected and sorted, in order to be examined in the light of the initial preliminary draft, and possibly included in, or added to, the final preliminary draft. (This consultation process is non-binding).  

b.   Briefly state the results that have been obtained in implementing the above standards and mechanisms, attaching the pertinent statistical information, if available. 

The participatory rulemaking mechanism has been used, for example, to draft the bills for the Lobbying Act and the Access to Information Act, which the Anti-Corruption Office submitted to the President and Congress. 

5. Participation mechanisms for the follow-up of public administration 

a.   Are there mechanisms in your country to facilitate, promote, and obtain the active participation of civil society and non- governmental organizations in the follow-up of public administration, in order to meet the purposes of preventing, detecting, punishing and eradicating acts of public corruption? If so, briefly describe them, and list and attach a copy of the related provisions and documents.  

Part of the public administration follow-up mechanisms have been described in the answers in Chapter Four above.  

In addition the Argentine Government web page at www.cristal.gov.ar makes available to the public important information to make it easier to follow up public administration (see annex attached in electronic format on the "Citizen Oversight" [Control Ciudadano] program) (http://www.cristal.gov.ar/front/participacion/main.html)  

As the first such initiative in the region, the Anti-Corruption Office has cooperated with civil society and provided technical assistance to explain the how the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption works -and its importance- to a series of NGOs and professional organizations that have formed a "Committee to Follow up on Compliance with the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption".  

b.   Briefly state the results that have been obtained in implementing the above standards and mechanisms, attaching the pertinent statistical information, if available.  

One result we can mention is that the Committee to Follow up on Compliance with the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption has prepared a first report, which it published in May 2002 and distributed to a large number of political and social actors at the national an international level.  

CHAPTER FIVE 

ASSISTANCE AND COOPERATION (ARTICLE XIV) 

1. Mutual Assistance 

a.   Briefly describe your country's legal framework, if any, that establishes mechanisms for mutual assistance in processing requests from foreign States that seek assistance in the investigation and prosecution of acts of corruption.  Attach a copy of the provisions that contain such mechanisms. 

Argentina has signed a large number of treaties on mutual legal assistance (see attached list in electronic format), as well as Act 24.767 on International Cooperation in Criminal Matters Act (24.767) published in the Official Gazette of January 17, 1997.  

Act Nº 24.767 provides a procedure for handling extradition requests that Argentina receives and makes regarding assistance in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, as well as with respect to the serving of sentences issued abroad and those that have been issued in Argentina and must be served abroad.  

The procedure under the above Act for processing requests for assistance has been adopted in accordance with generally recognized international standards in this area; it also complies with Article XIV of the Convention. 

Article 1 of Act Nº 24.767, provides that "The Argentine Republic shall afford any State that so requests the fullest cooperation in the investigation, trial or punishment of offences under the jurisdiction of that country.  The authorities involved shall act with the utmost diligence to ensure that the procedures are completed in a timely manner so that their assistance is not undermined."  

Article 2 of the Act provides that in the absence of a treaty between the requesting state and the Argentine Republic, the provisions contained in Act 24.767 shall apply, and that the text of treaties shall be interpreted under said provisions.  

Article 68 of Act 24.767 provides that assistance requested by a foreign authority for the investigation of a crime must be extended even when the action prompting the request is not an offence in Argentina. Nevertheless, it shall be necessary for the offense to be a crime in both States if the assistance consists of measures such as confiscation of goods, searching of houses, following of persons, interception of correspondence or communications. That requirement shall be met if the offense is included in this Convention. 

b.   Has your government presented or received requests for mutual assistance under the Convention? If so, indicate the number of requests that it has presented, explaining how many of them have not been answered and how many have been denied and for what reason; indicate the number of requests that it has received, explaining how many of them have not been answered and how many have been denied and for what reason; mention the average time it has taken your country to answer said requests and the average time in which other countries have responded, and indicate whether you consider these intervals reasonable. 

National Bureau for International Affairs and Cooperation of the Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights  

The above Bureau has informed that among its activities it processes requests for judicial cooperation made in cases in which acts of corruption are under investigation in the framework of other cooperation treaties.  

In criminal matters, the above Ministry is the central authority for the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters signed with the Government of the United States -adopted by Act Nº 24.034- and for the Convention on Equal Procedural Treatment and Letters Rogatory with the Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay (Act Nº 22.410). 

Following we provide details on the number of requests made and received by Argentina in the framework of both treaties.  

TABLE  I

REQUESTING COUNTRY

REQUESTED COUNTRY

NUMBER

Argentina

United States

23

Argentina

Uruguay

17

United States

Argentina

1

Uruguay

Argentina

-

 United States: 

With respect to results, broadly speaking, the United States lends its cooperation, although there are a long delays in processing letters rogatory owing to the limited appropriations which that country allocates to international cooperation.  Such delays are lengthened by the fact that, in the opinion of the central authority of that country, the above letters rogatory do not meet the requirements set forth in the treaty concerned, which leads to the return of requests in order to be resubmitted by the requesting agencies.   

The only ground on which, initially, cooperation is denied has to do with the fact that the courts request measures proposed by the defense, and they expressly state as much in the letter rogatory.  The argument used for the above refusal is that the treaty should only be invoked for the purposes of mutual legal assistance between the governments of the United States and the requesting state, and that its use is not admissible by a private person for the purposes of obtaining, suppression, or exclusion of evidence.   

This interpretation has been disputed by the Ministry, which is of the understanding that assistance requested in such conditions is included among the cases set down at Article 1 of the bilateral treaty, inasmuch as it originates from a judicial authority of the Argentine state.  Nevertheless, the United States central authority has not retreated from its position in that regard.   

Eastern Republic of Uruguay: 

The Eastern Republic of Uruguay affords broad cooperation in an expedite manner.  

Generally speaking, requests for information on bank accounts and other banking records are among the most commonly sought measures by our judges in cases involving public officials.   

In order to secure the lifting of bank secrecy, which is governed by strict laws in that country, it is an essential requirement to have a well-reasoned decision from the requesting judicial organ that sets out all the grounds in the foreign criminal proceeding that might justify the requested judge to issue such a decision. 

Sometimes, processing has been delayed because the national courts have not met the requirements prescribed by Uruguayan standards, which leads such requests initially to be rejected.  

It should also be mentioned that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Worship, is the central authority for application of the Protocol on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters of MERCOSUR adopted by Act N° 25.095,  

The Convention on Equal Procedural Treatment and Letters Rogatory signed with the Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay and adopted by Act Nº 22.410 is valid under Article 30 of the above Protocol. 

Accordingly, requesting agencies have both instruments at their disposal for the processing of their requests, which in practice signifies the existence of a dual processing mechanism. 

Therefore, it is likely that there are requests submitted under the above Act N° 25.095 regarding acts of corruption that have not come to the notice of this Ministry.  

On a different note, under the provisions contained in the International Cooperation in Criminal Matters Act (N° 24.767) this Ministry has a hand, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Worship, in processing all requests originating from foreign authorities, whether or not a treaty exists, except where the aforementioned countries are concerned. 

As a result of the foregoing, we have information on the countries mentioned below, even though this Ministry is not central authority for the application of the respective assistance treaties. 

The table below gives the number of requests addressed to the Argentine Republic in connection with the subject matter requested. 

TABLE  II 

REQUESTING COUNTRY

REQUESTED COUNTRY

NUMBER

Peru

Argentina

2

Colombia

Argentina

1

France

Argentina

1

 Our courts comply with such requests in a reasonable time, which depends, generally speaking, on the nature and number of measures requested.

 Requests submitted by the competent Argentine authorities to the rest of the world (with the exception of the United States and the Eastern Republic of Uruguay) are sent via diplomatic channels, which, consequently entails the direct intervention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Worship

The above ministry has informed that the Argentine Republic has submitted two requests for assistance in connection with matters covered by the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, based on provisions contained therein in (Article XIV and related articles of the Convention).

Both requests were initiated by the Anti-Corruption office and addressed to the competent authorities of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay. 

The first of these requests, dated November 5, 2001, was returned unprocessed by the Uruguayan judicial authorities by Decision of March 4, 2002, because it did not meet formal requirements contained in the regional convention on criminal assistance - Protocol on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters of MERCOSUR (Act Nº 25.095).  The time in which the request was returned is considered reasonable.

Once the request was supplemented by the Anti-Corruption Office it was again forwarded to the Uruguayan authorities on April 19, 2002.  No reply has been received as yet.   

The second request sent to Uruguay (on May 21, 2002) was received by the Uruguayan Central Authority on June 25, 2002 and referred to a criminal court in and for Montevideo.  No reply has been received as yet.   

2. Mutual technical cooperation 

a.   Does your country have mechanisms to permit the widest measure of mutual technical cooperation with other States Parties regarding the most effective ways and means of preventing, detecting, investigating, and punishing acts of public corruption, including the exchange of experiences by way of agreements and meetings between competent bodies and institutions, and the sharing of knowledge on methods and procedures for citizen participation in the fight against corruption?  If so, describe them briefly. 

United States 

On June 14, 2000, the Governments of the Argentine Republic and the United States signed a Framework Agreement on Efficiency and Transparency in Public Administration (see copy attached). 

The purpose of this Agreement is to establish mechanisms for information sharing and mutual cooperation between the two governments, through the Anti-Corruption Office of the Ministry of Justice, Security, and Human Rights of the Argentine Republic, the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of State, and the US Office of Government Ethics (OGE). 

In this framework, in 2000, 2001, and 2002 various activities and exchanges were conducted under the above Agreement:  

In September 2000 Anti-Corruption Office officials attended work meetings in Washington, D.C. with representatives of the Office of Government Ethics, the Offices of the Inspector General of the Departments of State and the Treasury, and USAID. During the above visit to the USA follow-up continued on the measures adopted under the Memorandum of Understanding signed by this Office on the part of the Argentine State, and the Office of the Inspector General of the State Department and the Office of Government Ethics on the part of the US Government

Through a special invitation extended by the Director of the Office of Ethics (OGE) in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by our country and the United States, Anti-Corruption Office officials were invited to participate in the Annual Conference of the US Office of Government Ethics due to be held from September 11 to 13 in Norfolk, Virginia.  Despite the fact that the terrorist attacks of September 11 forced the conference to be cancelled, day-long work meetings were held with the top-ranking authorities of the OGE.   

A series of videoconferences have been held to exchange information and experiences regarding regulation of conflicts of interest, in which officials from the executive and legislative branches of both countries have taken part.   

Furthermore, informal consultations are periodically held to share practical experiences and knowledge regarding matters covered by the Agreement, in particular in connection with resolution of situations of conflicts of interests and concerns connected with government procurement, rulemaking, and administration of the financial disclosures system.

Uruguay 

On December 3, 2001, an Inter-Institutional Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the State Advisory Board on Economic and Financial Matters of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay. 

In order to put into effect the cooperation measures provided under the above Memorandum, and with a view to mutual enhancement of the capacities of these agencies, the Anti-Corruption Office has placed its technical expertise at the disposal of the State Advisory Board on Economic and Financial Matters to implement activities to that end. 

In particular, it was considered appropriate that the first issue to be jointly addressed should be enhancement of laws on public ethics.  At this initial stage we will focus on activities to exchange experiences in detection and oversight of situations of conflicts of interest and incompatibilities, with particular attention to analysis of concrete cases that we have resolved and the conclusions derived from handling such matters.  In this connection work meetings have been scheduled throughout 2002. 

By the same token, representatives of the Anti-Corruption Office and the Institutional Reform Program of Bolivia signed an Inter-Institutional Agreement on Reciprocal Assistance in La Paz, Bolivia on July 4, 2002. 

In that framework meetings have been held with Bolivian Government officials with a view to designing a Work Plan. We have begun to exchange information on three of the issues to be developed in the first stage of implementation of the Agreement: Public spending transparency oversight policies; use of new technologies to enhance administration; and citizen participation. 

Mexico

On July 4, 2002 the Ministry of the Comptrollership and Administrative Development (SECODAM) of the United Mexican States signed an Anti-Corruption Cooperation Agreement with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of the Argentine Republic. 

Henceforth this agreement will provide the framework for the activities in the areas of cooperation and exchange of information, experience and technical assistance underway between SECODAM and the Anti-Corruption Office

Chile and Dominican Republic 

As regards exchange bilateral technical assistance notes of intent have been exchanged with the Office of the Attorney General of the Dominican Republic and with the Government General Audit Board [Consejo Auditoria General de Gobierno] of Chile. 

Network of Government Institutions for Public Ethics in the Americas 

An Ethics Officials Network has been formally created. The aim of this initiative is to provide an adequate framework in order to share information and provide mutual technical assistance in areas related to their functions.  

This initiative is in keeping with the mandates contained in the Plan of Action of the Third Summit of the Americas.  

In that connection the First Meeting of the Network of Government Institutions for Public Ethics in the Americas was held in Buenos Aires on June 13 and 14, 2002, with the Anti-Corruption Office of the Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights as host. 

At the meeting, representatives from Canada, United States, Puerto Rico, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the Creation of a Network of Government Institutions for Public Ethics in the Americas.   

The main purposes of the Network are to provide a forum for technical dialogue among offices with similar functions in the area of public ethics, and to institutionalize and facilitate exchange of information and assistance among ethics officials in the hemisphere.  

The network is expected to benefit from new technologies and to function both on a virtual and a physical level. Accordingly, the First Meeting of the Network of Government Institutions for Public Ethics in the Americas has served to launch the institutionalization of the Network, as well as to determine future lines of action.  

b.   Has your government made requests to other States Parties or received requests from them for mutual technical cooperation under the Convention? If so, briefly describe the results. 

In order to contribute to the fulfillment of the Plan of Action of the Third Summit in Quebec, in which the Heads of State and of Government of the hemisphere supported strengthening cooperation among ethics officials, the Anti-Corruption Office of the Argentine Republic, in 2001, has placed itself at the disposal of the countries of the Americas in order to exchange technical assistance with a view to implementing the provisions of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, with particular attention to the issues mentioned in paragraph 11 of resolution AG/RES. 1785 (XXXI-O/01) Enhancement of Probity in the Hemisphere and Follow-up on the Inter-American Program of Cooperation in the Fight Against Corruption 

This proposal has led to the finalization of some of the initiatives described in question a) above. 

c.   If no such mechanisms exist, briefly indicate how your State has implemented the obligation, in accordance with Article XIV (2) of the Convention. 

d.   Has your county developed technical cooperation programs or projects on aspects that are referred to in the Convention, in conjunction with international agencies or organizations? If so, briefly describe, including, for example, the subject matter of the program or project and the results obtained.

World Bank Grant (IDF 027.282) 

The grant was extended by the World Bank to the Anti-Corruption Office of the Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights in order to implement institution-building activities under the expenditure plan approved in advanced by officers of the Bank.  The activities contained in the above plan are designed to stimulate implementation of the provisions of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption in the Argentine Republic.   

The main activities include, inter alia, to:  

·         Conduct field studies and workshops with a view to enhancing the capacities of the Anti-Corruption Office in areas such as conflicts of interests and standards of ethical conduct; profiling of corruption crimes that are reported to the law enforcement authorities; multiple employment in the Civil Service; unlawful enrichment; witness protection act. 

·         Develop a web site and other mechanisms to disseminate the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. 

·         Make improvements to the financial disclosures system. 

·         Partially finance activities aimed to encourage bilateral and multilateral exchange of technical assistance with regard to implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. 

·         Strengthen mechanisms designed to stimulate civil society participation in verification of compliance with the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption in the Argentine Republic.   

OAS - IDB

In the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding for Execution of the Program of Support for the Ratification and Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption signed by Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and the Organization of American States, on October 10 and 11, 2000, a Seminar on "Support for the Ratification and Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption" was held with assistance provided by the Organization and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The central aim of this event, which was attended by international and national experts, legislators, representatives of the Judiciary, the Attorney General's Office, the Judicial Council, oversight agencies, nongovernmental organizations, the executive branch, and officials of the Organization of American States was to promote the prompt implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and its harmonization with domestic laws with respect to criminalization of acts of corruption.

Accordingly, this event constituted an additional tool to collect technical information on the most significant aspects of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption; gain broader knowledge in order to define specific policies in this area; and disseminate the principles, contents and scope of the Convention 

CHAPTER SIX 

CENTRAL AUTHORITIES (ARTICLE XVIII) 

1. Designation of Central Authorities 

a.   Has your country designated a central authority for the purposes of channeling requests for mutual assistance as provided under the Convention?  

Yes, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Worship.  

b.   Has your country designated a central authority for the purposes of channeling requests for mutual technical cooperation as provided under the Convention?  

Yes, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Worship. 

c.   If your country has designated a central authority or central authorities please provide the necessary contact data, including the name of the agency(ies) and the responsible official(s), the position that he or she occupies, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address(es). 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Worship

Bureau of Legal Affairs

Director, Dr. Mariano Augusto MacielDivision of International Legal Assistance

Director, Dr. María del Carmen Seoane de Chiodi

Telephone/fax: 4819-7170/7172

E-mail addresseses: msc@mrecic.gov.ar, iam@mrecic.gov.ar, mbs@mrecic.gov.ar, jgs@mrecic.gov.ar, dig@mrecic.gov.ar 

2. Operation of Central Authorities 

a.   Does the central authority have the necessary human, financial and technical resources to enable it to properly make and receive requests for assistance and cooperation under the Convention? If yes, please describe them briefly. 

The Central Authority of the Argentine Republic has the necessary resources and infrastructure to enable it properly to make and received requests for assistance and cooperation under the Convention. 

It has stable employees who are trained and experienced in matters of international legal assistance. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the Central Authority for most of the agreements on mutual assistance, such as the Protocol on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters of MERCOSUR (adopted by Act Nº 25.095), Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters with Australia (Act Nº 24.038), Agreement on Criminal Assistance with Peru (Act Nº 25.307), Agreement Judicial Assistance in Criminal Matters with Colombia (Act Nº 25.348), and the Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters with Canada (Act Nº 25.460), etc.. 

Furthermore, under the International Cooperation in Criminal Matters Act (Nº 24.767), which governs requests for assistance in criminal matters throughout the territory of the Argentine Republic, such requests must be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Worship, which will issue an opinion on the admissibility of the request or, as appropriate, reject it . 

b.   Has the central authority, since its designation, made or received requests for assistance and cooperation under the Convention? If so, indicate the results obtained, whether there were obstacles or difficulties in handling the requests, and how this problem could be solved.   

The Central Authority of the Argentine Republic has received requests for assistance as described above. As yet the requested state has not been complied with either request. 

The Argentine Central Authority has encountered no obstacles as regards processing the requests made.  

III. INFORMATION ON THE OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLETION OF THIS QUESTIONNAIRE 

Pleas complete the following information: 

(a)  State Party: ARGENTINA

(b)  The official to be consulted regarding the responses to the questionnaire is: Mr. Roberto de Michele

Title/position: Director of Transparency Policy Planning
Agency/Office: Anti-Corruption Office, Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights
Mailing address: Sarmiento 329, 3er. piso, Ciudad de Buenos Aires (CP 1041) Argentina
Telephone number: (5411) 4328-2442
Fax number: (5411) 4328-2730
E-mail address: rdemiche@jus.gov.ar
 

The official to be consulted regarding the responses to the questionnaire is: Mr.Nicolás Dassen

Title/position: Advisor to the Transparency Policy Planning Division

Agency/Office: Anti-Corruption Office, Ministry of Justice, Security and Human Rights
Mailing address: Sarmiento 329, 3er. piso, Ciudad de Buenos Aires (CP 1041) Argentina
Telephone number: (5411) 4328-2442
Fax number: (5411) 4328-2730
E-mail address: ndassen@jus.gov.ar