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

QUESTIONNAIRE OF THE STATE OF NICARAGUA ON PROVISIONS SELECTED BY THE COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS FOR ANALYSIS WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE FIRST ROUND

 

Introduction 

Nicaragua is making major efforts to create a rule-of-law State and to surmount the fragility of its institutions. To do this, one of its essential pillars, the civil service, must have an appropriate legal framework, because achieving rule of law requires that the principles in the Constitution be translated into law; many of these principles still need to be developed and coordinated.  

The State has taken significant steps to that end with the preparation and entry into force of a series of laws producing a new administrative structure for the country, such as the following: Administrative Litigation Jurisdiction Act, Government Contracting Act, Organic Law of the Office of the Attorney General; Organic Law of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic; Law on the Organization, Competence, and Procedures of the Executive Branch and its Regulations; and, as a result of the work of the National Integrity Committee (CNI): Ethical Standards for Civil Servants in the Executive Branch, and the Amendment to the Penal Code and an addition regarding criminalization of new legal elements or acts of corruption committed by civil servants and individuals against the government (illicit enrichment, influence peddling, transnational bribery, embezzlement, fraud, and others). In addition, the Civil Service and Administrative Career Service Bill and the Citizen Participation Bill have been prepared for discussion and approval in the National Assembly. Consultations are currently under way with the executive branch and civil society on the preliminary Bill on Access to Information. 

The country, therefore, is undertaking an ambitious transformation of its democratic institutions. The purpose of that process is to structure and organize a constitutional rule-of-law State, the reason and purpose of which is to make persons and the government abide by the Constitution and laws. It is also intended to establish and guarantee a system of social, economic, and political rights and public freedoms, according primacy to human dignity and seeking to correct inequalities of all kinds, in accordance with the law. This is all the result of a series of historical events and of citizen participation, which vehemently demand that a new order be built around non-confrontation; the final objective of that order is to achieve democratization, pacification, the transformation of democratic institutions, transparency in governance, economic modernization, and streamlining of the State, with justice for as many people as possible. 

I.             SUMMARY OF THE INFORMATION RECEIVED 

The following documents were used to analyze implementation of the provisions of the Convention selected by the Committee of Experts of the Follow-Up Mechanism for Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. 

1.               Constitution of Nicaragua, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 5 of January 9, 1987. Amendments thereto were published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin Nos. 46 of March 6, 1990; 125 of July 5, 1995; and 13 of January 19, 2000. 

2.               Law No. 411, Organic Law of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 244 of November 24, 2001. 

3.               Decree-Law No. 86, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 16 of September 22, 1979. It has been amended through the following: Decree-Law Nos. 612, Amendment to the Law Establishing the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 6 of January 10, 1981; 743, Amendment to the Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 149 of July 7, 1981; 1490, Amendment to the Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 161 of August 22, 1984; and 417, Amendment to the Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic on the Control System for Government and the People's Property Area, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 240 of December 29, 1988.  

4.               Technical Internal Control Standards for Government Control. June 15, 1995 publication of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic. 

5.                     Government Auditing Standards of Nicaragua. April 20, 2002 publication of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic. 

6.                       Decree No. 83-99 Creating the Monitoring and Evaluation Committees, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 143, of July 28, 1999. 

7.                      Decree-Law No. 297, Penal Code of the Republic of Nicaragua, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 96 of May 3, 1974. It has been amended through the following: Law Nos. 259, Amendment of Chapters Eight and Nine and Articles 386, 389, 395, and 397 of Chapter Ten, Title VIII, Crimes against Persons, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 222 of October 5, 1973; 67, Law Amending Article 494 of the Penal Code, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 245 of December 27, 1989; 150, Law Amending the Penal Code, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 174 of September 9, 1992; 230, Law Amending and Supplementing the Penal Code, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 191 of October 9, 1996; 419, Law Amending and Supplementing the Penal Code of the Republic of Nicaragua, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 121 of June 8, 2002. 

7.               Law No. 419 Amending the Penal Code of the Republic of Nicaragua, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 121 of June 28, 2002. 

8.               Law Amending Decree No. 579, Law No. 11, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 217 of November 12, 1985. 

9.                    Law No. 438 on Civil Servant Probity, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 147 of August 7, 2002. 

10.             Decree No. 124-99, Ethical Standards for Civil Servants in the Executive Branch, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 236 of December 10, 1999.  

11.             Decree No. 67-2002 Establishing the Office of Public Ethics, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 142 of July 30, 2002. 

12.             Law No. 290 on the Organization, Competence, and Procedures of the Executive Branch and its Regulations, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 102 of June 3, 1998. 

13.             Law No. 323 on Government Contracting, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin Nos. 1 and 2 of January 3 and 4, 2000. 

14.             Law No. 435 Amending the 2002 General Budget Act of the Republic, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 147 of August 7, 2002. 

15.                  2002 Standards and Procedures for Budget Execution and Control, published by the General Budget Directorate of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit on January 7, 2002. 

16.             Executive Decree No. 70-2000, Extradition Treaty between the Republic of Nicaragua and the Kingdom of Spain, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 161 of August 25, 2000. 

17.             National Assembly (N.A.) Decree No. 1888, Extradition Treaty between the Republic of Nicaragua and the United Mexican States, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 64 of April 2, 1998. 

18.             N.A. Decree No. 1884, Extradition Treaty between the Republic of Nicaragua and the Republic of Chile, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 63 of April 1, 1998.  

19.             N.A. Decree No. 1902, Approval of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters among the Republics of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 116 of June 1998. 

20.             Law No. 177 on Narcotic, Psychotropic, and Controlled Substances, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 138 of July 25, 1994. This Law was amended through Law No. 285 Amending and Supplementing Law No. 177 on Narcotic, Psychotropic, and Controlled Substances, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin Nos. 69 and 70 of April 15 and 16, 1999, respectively. 

21.             Law No. 261, The Municipios Act, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 162 of August 1997. 

22.             Executive Decree No. 52-97, Regulations for the Municipios Act, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 171 of September 8, 1997. It was amended through the following: Decree Nos. 34-2000, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 81 of May 2, 2000; and 48-2000, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin, No. 107 of June 7, 2000. 

23.                  Executive Decree No. 15-99 Establishing the National Economic and Social Planning Council, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 34 of February 18, 1999.  

24.                  Decree No. 17-2001 Establishing the National Citizen Participation Commission, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 23 of February 1, 2001. 

25.                   Citizen Legal Initiative Act, published in The Gazette, Official Bulletin No. 218 of November 14, 1997. 

II.            ANALYSIS BY THE STATE PARTY OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SELECTED PROVISIONS  

1.            Standards of conduct and enforcement mechanisms (Article III, 1 and 2) 

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) 

Article III, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption read as follows: 

  1. Standards of conduct for the correct, honorable, and proper fulfillment of public functions. These standards shall be intended to prevent conflicts of interest and ensure the proper conservation and use of resources entrusted to government officials in the performance of their functions. These standards shall also establish measures and systems requiring government officials to report to appropriate authorities acts of corruption in the performance of public functions. Such measures should help preserve the public's confidence in the integrity of public servants and government processes.
  1. Mechanisms to enforce these standards of conduct.

Article III: Preventive Measures 

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. 

The Constitution states that “public functions must be exercised in the interests of the people” and that officials in the four branches of government are accountable to the people for “correct performance of their functions and must inform them of their work and official activities...(and)…must address and listen to their problems and seek to resolve them” (Art. 131 of the Constitution). The State also assumes liability for injury “to individuals’ property, rights, and interests” as a result of the actions or omissions of officials in the exercise of their position. In this regard, the Constitution warns that public officials or government employees “are personally responsible for violations of the Constitution, lack of administrative probity, and any other offense or omission committed in the performance of their functions.” Moreover, they are accountable to the State for “any damage they cause through abuse, negligence, and acts of omission in the exercise of their position” (Art. 131 of the Constitution).  

As a result of this constitutional framework on the nature and accountability of civil service, the national legal system has standards of conduct for the correct, honorable, and adequate fulfillment of public functions. Accordingly, the Constitution stipulates that “no position can confer upon its holder more functions that those assigned by the Constitution and laws” (Art. 130) and that all government officials must “disclose their property prior to assuming a post and after leaving it” (Art. 130).  

To avoid conflicts of interest, the Constitution states that civil servants in any branch of government cannot “obtain any concessions from the State”; furthermore they are not allowed to act as “representatives or agents for national or foreign public or private enterprises in contracting with the government.” The Constitution establishes the following two-fold penalty for violation of this provision: first, “it cancels the concessions or advantages obtained” and second, it calls for “loss of status as a representative and loss of the position" (Art. 130 of the Constitution; Arts. 8, 14, and 15, Probity Act). Similarly, the Constitution prohibits authorities from “awarding appointments to close relatives” and bars executives from appointing persons within “four degrees of consanguinity and two degrees of affinity” (Art. 130). 

The executive branch issued a Decree (124/1999) on Ethical Standards for Civil Servants in the Executive Branch. Its purpose is to establish ethical standards for civil servants in the different State ministries, decentralized and deconcentrated entities, and generally all those referenced in the Law on the Organization, Competence, and Procedures of the Executive Branch (Law No. 290/1999). This Decree also establishes restrictions on public functions, as well as duties, prohibitions, and incompatibilities in the exercise of such functions. 

Civil servants must act in accordance with the principles of probity, transparency, responsibility, impartiality, and decorum.  They must comply with and enforce the legal order corresponding to the nature of their functions, act diligently in the service entrusted to them, rationally use resources in the performance of their work, exercise their functions based on the common good and the furtherance of citizens’ interests, resolve citizen requests and demands in accordance with the law, and protect the assets assigned to them. They must also report criminal conduct or omissions of which they are aware to the competent authority, present a declaration of probity in the appropriate cases, and receive only their government salary (Arts. 2, 6, and 7, Probity Act; Arts. 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6, Ethical Standards for Civil Servants in the Executive Branch). 

It further establishes that civil servants must refrain from receiving donations, gifts, monetary commissions, or commissions in kind from any person who has an interest in the outcome of their conduct. They must also refrain from using public functions to benefit any political party. Civil servants are barred from involving third parties in the regular exercise of their functions and from acquiring personally or through another person goods that are sold by their institution or for arranging for third persons to acquire such property. Moreover, they can not personally, or through a third party, provide advising on matters related to their position (Arts. 8, 13, 14, and 15, Probity Act; Arts. 173, 175, and 176, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic; Art. 395, Penal Code; Arts. 13 and 19, Organic Law of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic). 

The Decree does not have coercive force or establish sanctions for the violation of its standards; it is preventive in nature and provides civil servants with a framework of provisions advising them how they must act in the exercise of their functions. However, violations of an ethical standard can, depending on their nature and content, constitute an offense. Moreover, certain behaviors result in civil or administrative liability. 

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 Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic (governing body) monitors compliance with the Civil Servant Probity Act, general laws, and regulatory standards governing its installation, operation, functioning, transformation, and dissolution (Arts. 24, 25, 26, and 27, Probity Act). The Office uses audits as a control mechanism to ensure compliance with the standards of conduct. It establishes a single accountancy model that the State must implement (Arts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, and 43, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller). 

In this case, the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic finds the official who is responsible for financial administration systems or for protecting financial material resources to be directly responsible, when appropriate. The Act authorizes the control organ to find public officials investigated for acts detrimental to the assets of the State to have administrative liability or civil liability and to determine whether or not there is “presumption of a crime.” The organ also has the authority to refer said actions to the courts, to determine whether or not there is criminal liability (Arts. 173, 175 and 176, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic; Art. 156, Penal Code; Arts. 13, 14, and 15, Probity Act). According to the Constitution, the Office of the Comptroller “must release (principle of disclosure) the results of its investigations and, when they presume criminal liability, must refer its investigation to the courts; failure to do so would make it an accessory after the fact to offenses the investigated persons are later found to have committed” (Art. 156).  

The Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic sets forth the procedure to be followed in the Office’s investigations into acts of corruption, as well as the resources that can be used by the parties once the Office has issued its decision. 

Recently, the executive branch created the Office of Public Ethics to promote transparency and effectiveness in the administration of its goods and resources and to fight corruption, while fostering honesty, good citizenship, and ethics through education and awareness and dissemination of the standards of conduct for public officials. Its purpose is to regulate the integrity, diligence, and influence of civil or military officials in the performance of their positions, so that State property is allocated in an orderly manner for the purposes of the government of the Republic (Decree No. 67-2002 Establishing the Office of Public Ethics). 

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

Data provided by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic (Annex I) reveal that, in 2000, 104 applications to tender were received from State institutions, waiving the procedures in the Contracting Act; 66 were authorized and 33 denied; there were 4 motions to declare a decision void and one petition to declare a decision void. In 2001, 82 applications to tender were received for direct contracting, bypassing the procedures in the Contracting Act; of those, 57 were authorized and 19 denied; there were nine motions to declare a decision void and three petitions to declare a decision void. In 2002, 64 requests were received; 48 were authorized and 12 denied; there was one motion to declare a decision void and three petitions to declare a decision void. In the 328 audits conducted by the Office of the Comptroller, 35 sanctions were imposed (fines and dismissal). 

2. Conflicts of interests  

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 Constitution sets forth standards aimed at preventing conflicts of interest in the exercise of public functions. Thus, it states that public officials in any branch of government cannot “obtain any concessions from the State”; they are also barred from acting as “representatives or agents for national or foreign public or private enterprises in contracting with the government.”  The Constitution establishes the following two-fold penalty for violations of this provision: first, “it cancels the concessions or advantages obtained” and second, it calls for “loss of status as a representative and loss of the position" (Art. 130 of the Constitution; Arts. 8, 14, and 15, Probity Act). Similarly, the Constitution prohibits authorities from “awarding appointments to close relatives” and bars executives from appointing persons within “four degrees of consanguinity and two degrees of affinity” (Art. 130). 

In secondary legislation, the Government Contracting and Procurement Act articulates and develops on the constitutional standards to prevent such conflicts. The purpose of that Act is to establish general standards and procedures regulating the procurement of goods, hiring of consultants, and any other service carried out by public sector organs or entities. The sphere of application for this is the public sector, autonomous and decentralized entities, municipios, universities that receive funding from the State, and enterprises in which the State has a stake. The Act sets forth the basic principles that must be adhered to in contracting, such as efficiency, disclosure and transparency, equality, and fair competition; it also establishes the procedures for procuring goods through competitive bidding (Arts. 3, 12, and 13, Government Contracting Act; Arts. 173, 175, and 176, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic; Art. 130, Constitution; and Arts. 13, 14, and 15, Probity Act). 

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 mechanisms to enforce compliance with the above standards of conduct are set forth in the Government Contracting Act. That Act states that the following persons cannot be bidders to the State: public officials who have a commercial or personal interest, persons who participated in designing the bid call, their family members up to the third degree of consanguinity, and their spouses. Likewise public officials are responsible for monitoring and safeguarding State property and are prohibited from using their positions for their own benefit or that of third parties (Arts. 12 and 13, Government Contracting Act; Arts. 2, 5, 7, and 8, Civil Servant Probity Act).  

The Government Contracting Act and the Civil Servant Probity Act contain sanctions for public officials (and individuals) who violate these mechanisms; these administrative sanctions do not preclude any resulting civil and criminal sanctions (Arts. 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, and 90, Government Contracting Act; Arts. 13, 14, and 15, Civil Servant Probity Act; Arts. 173, 174, and 175, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic). 

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

Data provided by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic (Annex I) reveal that in 2000, 158 audits were conducted, of which 87 were financial and compliance audits, 61 were special audits, and 10 were internal control assessments. In all, 81 were executed with Office resources and 77 by private firms; they found administrative liability in 27 cases, presumed criminal liability in 8, and civil liability in 25.  

In 2001, 170 audits were conducted, of which 71 were financial and compliance audits, 87 were special audits, and 12 were internal control assessments; 106 were executed with Office resources and 64 by private firms; they found administrative liability in 39 cases, criminal liability in 16, and civil liability in 16, affecting a total of 169 officials; five sanctions were imposed, two sanctions were not applied, six fines were levied, and four persons were dismissed. 

In 2002, administrative liability has been found in 19 cases, criminal liability in 13, and civil liability in 13, affecting a total of 184 persons; 13 sanctions have been imposed, five sanctions have not been applied, ten fines have been levied, and one person has been dismissed. 

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. 

The Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic is responsible for the standards of conduct aimed at ensuring the conservation and proper use of resources entrusted to public officials in the performance of their functions. Its regulations stipulate that each State institution is responsible for creating its own internal control policies, which shall not preclude the Office of the Comptroller’s authority to issue technical internal control and government auditing standards (Arts. 38, 40, 43, 45, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 63, 64, 65, 76, 80, 85, and 86, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller). 

The technical internal control standards establish professional criteria to be observed in the different financial administration, operational, and program and project areas; they are mandatory basic guidelines of general application; their purpose is to establish an appropriate separation of the functions of civil servants in each institution. Each entity is responsible for establishing and maintaining an internal control structure that provides reasonable security in the standards and procedures formally established in each institution’s transactions, such as: assets, liabilities, revenue, expenditures, procurement of goods and services, issuance of checks, cash control, and inventory control, among others (Technical internal control standards; Arts. 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 35, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic). 

Government audits are conducted based on the government auditing standards. They consist of an objective, systematic examination of the financial and administrative operations of each entity and agency in the public sector, for the purpose of verifying and checking compliance with the legal provisions on material and financial resources, so that they are administered correctly, in order to ensure effective subsequent control (Arts. 38, 40, 43, 45, and 49, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic). 

The purpose of the government control performed by the Office of the Comptroller General is to stimulate the administrative activities of the entities and agencies subject to control; establish reliable internal control; provide civil servants with an appropriate environment that strengthens their morality and integrity; enhance productivity; protect public resources; increase efficiency, effectiveness, and economy in government operations and use of government resources; promote compliance with the pertinent legal provisions, standards, and policies; and facilitate achievement of the programmed goals and objectives (Arts. 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 35, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic; Art. 130, Constitution; Art. 3, 5, 8, 13, 14, and 15, Civil Servant Probity Act; Arts. 5, 6, and 7,  Government Contracting Act). 

Budget Execution and Control Standards and Procedures are issued annually by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. All units in the central government are subject to the provisions of those standards. They establish the responsibilities for control of budget execution (2002 Budget Execution and Control Standards and Procedures). 

The General Directorates of Budget and Government Accounting of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, in turn, are responsible for supervising, controlling, and evaluating budget execution by the agencies, based on compliance with these standards (Arts. 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 35, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic; Art. 130 Constitution). 

The institutions, through the financial administration divisions, are responsible for the protection and conservation of the fixed assets entrusted to them for the performance of their functions, for which they must be accountable. They are also responsible for keeping an auxiliary record of all the institution’s fixed assets. The financial administration offices submit a monthly report to the General Directorate of Government Accounting on increases and decreases in inventory, with the codes for the assets in question (Art. 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 35, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic; Art. 130, Constitution; 2002 Budget Execution and Control Standards and Procedures; Art. 3, 5, 8, 13, 14, and 15, Probity Act; Art. 5, 6, and 7, Government Contracting Act). 

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. 

Nicaragua has mechanisms to enforce compliance with the above standards of conduct, which are the responsibility of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic and of the internal audit units of each institution. 

Each institution must establish its own internal control using as a guideline the technical internal control standards for government control issued by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, in which they provide a course of action for establishing methods to safeguard resources and ensure the veracity of their financial, technical, and administrative data. Establishment of internal control is mandatory (Technical internal control standards for government control). 

The organizational plan for internal control must include procedures that make it possible to keep a record of financial and administrative control of resources, obligations, revenue, expenditures, and wealth, as well as public works projects and best practices for fulfilling the functions of each unit and each civil servant. State institutions must establish an internal audit unit (Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, Arts. 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, and 43). 

The internal audit unit is accountable to the institution’s senior authority for the subsequent internal control. It is organized in accordance with the needs and resources to be administered and must be consistent with the complexity and volume of the respective transactions. The unit’s audits will be performed in accordance with the government auditing standards issued by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic. The internal audit is subject to periodic evaluation by the Office of the Comptroller General. This unit has the highest degree of independence and hence cannot participate in administrative processes; it issues reports addressed to the institution’s senior authority (Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, Arts. 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, and 58). 

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

No information is available. 

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 Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic oversees the standards of conduct 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. 

The internal auditor of each State institution is the person required to report acts of corruption. Audits conducted by the internal auditor are to be consistent with accepted government auditing standards and the technical government auditing policies and standards issued by the Comptroller General (Arts. 56 and 59, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic). 

Audits are performed in accordance with accepted government auditing standards and the technical government auditing policies and standards issued by the Comptroller General. Audit and special examination reports are to be signed by the internal auditor. When the internal auditors deem it necessary, they will report directly to the Office of the Comptroller General any matter of importance of which it should be aware (Arts. 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, and 63, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic). 

When the examination conducted by the internal audit units unveils facts that could result in administrative liability, it will be noted in the pertinent report, so as to enable the institution or its senior authority to impose the pertinent sanctions (Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, Arts. 38, 40, 43, 45, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 63, 64, 65, 76, 80, 85, and 86). 

When there is proof of criminal acts detrimental to economic interests or that threaten the probity of economic management, the auditor will immediately notify the senior authority and the Office of the Comptroller General and will then compile all available evidence to pinpoint the proof; it will receive support from the senior authority and can call witnesses and demand sworn statements and the submittal of documents. An arrest warrant will be issued for persons who refuse to comply (Arts. 2520, 2521, and 2526, Civil Code; Arts. 38, 40, 43, 45, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 63, 64, 65, 76, 80, 85, and 86, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic). 

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 mechanisms to enforce compliance with these standards of conduct –audits– are the responsibility of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic. These are classified into five categories: financial, operational, special, selective, and internal audits. 

·         Internal audits are performed by the institutions’ authorities, through their internal audit unit (Arts. 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, and 48, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller). 

·         Operational audits consist of an examination and evaluation to determine the degree of efficiency, effectiveness, and economy in planning, organization, management, internal control, and use of resources and confirmation of observance of the pertinent provisions (Arts. 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 49, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller). 

·         Financial audits examine records, business papers, documents, and other items that support the financial statements, to formulate an opinion on the soundness with which the results of financial operations are presented in the net worth, to determine compliance with legal provisions (Arts. 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 50, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller). 

·         Special audits involve verifying, studying, and evaluating financial or administrative transactions and operations after their execution, by applying engineering or other related audit techniques and procedures or those from specific disciplines in accordance with the matter under examination (Arts. 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 51, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller). 

·         Selective review audits enable the auditor to limit the examination to part of the operations in the event that the internal control assessment and selective examination of operations found sufficient, pertinent evidence regarding the reliability of those operations (Arts. 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 52, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic). 

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

Data from the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic (Annex I) reveal that citizen complaints result in audits for acts of corruption. From 2000 through June 2002, 184 complaints were received; of those only 11 have led to audits. 

2.         System for disclosing income, assets and liabilities (Article III, 4) 

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. 

These regulations are set forth in the Civil Servant Probity Act. The purpose of that Act is to regulate the probity of public officials, for the observance of the principles of dignity, probity, equality, competence, and accountability. It establishes how public officials are to fulfill their obligations to monitor State resources and to present their declaration of probity to the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, as well as to work with that Office upon its request (Arts. 1, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, and 15, Probity Act). The declarations must contain the property that makes up their personal wealth (assets and liabilities) and that of their spouse, companion, and children under their care. Finally, the declaration will contain a pledge from the declarer that the content is true and that the property disclosed is the only property declared in Nicaragua and abroad. The Office of the Comptroller has the authority to verify the declaration of probity, by requesting documents from the civil servant to support the declaration (Arts. 21 and 23, Probity Act). 

Declarations of probity must be presented to the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic within 15 days of taking office and 15 days of leaving office. Changes in declared personal wealth will result in sanctions and the assessment of liability (Arts. 1, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, and 15, Probity Act). 

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

According to the information obtained from the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic (Annex I), in 2000 567 declarations of probity were received, and 150 were verified; in 2001, 3,366 declarations of probity were received, and 567 were verified; and as of June 2002, 895 declarations of probity had been received and none verified. A breakdown of declarations of probity is available by sector and institution from 2000 through June 2002. 

c)       If no such regulations exist, briefly indicate how your State has considered the applicability of measures within your own institutional systems to create, maintain and strengthen the regulations that establish 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, in accordance with Article III (4) of the Convention. 

3.            Oversight Bodies 

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 Constitution of Nicaragua stipulates that the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic is the governing body of the government control and State resources and property supervision system. The Office of the Comptroller is composed of five regular members and three alternates, elected by the National Assembly to a five-year term, during which time they enjoy immunity (Art. 154, Constitution). 

The Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic is an independent agency, subject only to the Constitution and laws; it enjoys functional and administrative autonomy. The Office of the Comptroller is composed of a Higher Council of five members and three alternates. The Council elects a President and Vice President from among its members by a majority of votes for a term of one year, with the possibility of reelection (Art. 156, paragraphs one and three, Constitution). 

The Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic establishes a system for controlling and evaluating government resources, and it includes all the laws, regulations, standards, methods, and procedures governing the activity of public institutions as regards control of their management and the exercise of civil servants’ powers, authority, and obligations (Arts. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic). 

The purpose of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic is to establish an internal control system in public institutions that is supported through external control by the Office. To that end, it conducts independent, objective examinations and makes recommendations for improving the operations and activities of State institutions (Arts. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic). 

The regulatory authority of the Office of the Comptroller General includes the power to prepare technical internal control standards as a governmental provision that will regulate internal control in public sector entities; for the purposes of conducting government audits, it uses generally-accepted government auditing standards known as GAGAS; they establish the nature of the audit to be performed by this oversight body (Arts. 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, and 37, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic). 

The functions of the Office of the Comptroller General include performing financial, operational, selective, and special audits in State institutions and reviewing and evaluating the audits conducted by their internal audit units. It also issues and updates regulations on government auditing, government accounting, internal control, control of material and financial resources, and other areas authorized by the Organic Law (Arts. 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic). 

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

The data provided by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic (Annex 1) indicate that this oversight body has been more efficient since it became a collegiate body. Its productivity has risen qualitatively and quantitatively, since it has established administrative, civil, and criminal liability in a series of cases, which was not achieved by the previous regulatory entity. 

Audits with own resources rose; human resources increased; the production of audits has accelerated; and terms of reference were prepared for external audits and reviews of working papers. It has also reviewed internal audit reports to examine whether they comply with government auditing standards, and two more regional offices were created, bringing the total to five. 

An office for citizen complaints was created to encourage citizen collaboration and involvement in the control and oversight executed by this institution. 

The following were also promoted: amendment of the Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic; standards for analyzing, controlling, and monitoring government contracting, creating the corresponding office for compliance with those standards; and updating of the government auditing standards (GAGAS). 

4.            Mechanisms to encourage participation by civil society and nongovernmental organizations (Article III, 11) 

CHAPTER FOUR

PARTICIPATION BY CIVIL SOCIETY (ARTICLE III, 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. 

The Constitution, in accordance with the “principle of petition” (Art. 52) and the civil and political right of establishing organizations and participating in politics and state affairs, offers a broad range of possibilities by means of which anomalies can be reported and constructive criticism can be presented either individually or on a collective basis to state agencies, municipal governments, and other authorities (Arts. 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, and 55 of the Constitution; and Arts. 40, 1, 3, 16, 36, and 37 of the Municipios Act). 

In 1997, the National Assembly passed the Citizen Legal Initiative Act. This statute regulates “the exercise of the citizens’ right to submit draft legislation, in accordance with the terms of Article 140(4) of the Constitution” (Art. 1). The Act guarantees this right to each and every “citizen.” The legislative bills that citizens can submit to the National Assembly can be of any kind, including anti-corruption laws. The initiative excludes organic laws, international tax legislation, statutes governing amnesties and pardons, national budgetary provisions, and constitutional laws (Art. 3). 

The National Assembly’s Defense and Governance Committee is currently studying a Citizen Participation Bill. The text recognizes and promotes citizen participation in public and state affairs in accordance with the principle of participatory democracy contained in the Constitution and in the international human rights instruments ratified by Nicaragua and in accordance with the general principles of law applicable in this regard. Its goal is to promote the full exercise of citizenship in the political, social, economic, and cultural arenas through the creation and operation of institutional mechanisms that allow fluid interaction between the state and society, thus helping to strengthen democracy. The citizen participation instruments provided for in the statute are the following: the Citizen Regulatory Initiative at the national, autonomous region, and local levels; the Citizen Regulatory Consultation, in the opinion phase, at the national, autonomous region, and local levels; consultation forums for the design, monitoring, and evaluation of public policies at the national, autonomous region, and local levels; Residents’ Associations and Sectoral Organizations at the local level; and the Popular Consultation at the local level. 

Another bill before the executive is for the Information Access Act, which will set down legal procedures for civil society and non-governmental organizations to participate in anti-corruption efforts. This statute establishes the right of Nicaraguans and Nicaraguan residents to have access to documents, files, dossiers and databases kept by the government and, for this, it defines the relevant procedures; it also upholds those persons’ right of access to information about them recorded by state authorities and their right to be informed of the reason for and purpose behind keeping said information.  

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

No information available.  

c)       If no such mechanisms exist, briefly indicate how your State has considered the applicability of measures within your own institutional systems to create, maintain and strengthen the mechanisms to encourage participation by civil society and non-governmental organizations in efforts to prevent corruption, in accordance with Article III (11) of the Convention. 

The executive branch, recognizing that combating corruption is a priority activity and an urgent task for the government of the Republic of Nicaragua, and in consideration of the basic need for strengthened government control in all areas to ensure greater transparency in its stewardship of the assets and resources of the executive branch, in order to enhance the efficiency and economy with which the administration’s assets and resources are used, created, by means of Decree No. 67-2002, the Office of Public Ethics. The job of this Office, an agency of the President’s office, is to design and implement policies and programs for promoting transparency and efficiency in the administration of the executive’s assets and resources.  

With the aim of creating, maintaining, and strengthening guidelines for the correct, honest, and appropriate performance of public functions, the Office is charged with promoting integrity and transparency at the national level in order to prevent corruption and tackle it when it arises, by encouraging, among civil servants and the citizenry in general, values of honesty, civic responsibility, and ethics, through education, dissemination, and awareness-raising; promoting within the agencies of the national executive, supporting, and supervising transparency in public procurement and due observance of the Technical Internal Control Standards issued by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic; working for the introduction and enforcement of Integrated Financial Management Systems; coordinating, with public sector authorities, activities intended to strengthen and enhance internal auditing units and to support their creation where they do not exist, so they can perform tasks of the highest professional quality with efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency in the administration of public resources; reviewing, analyzing, and making pertinent recommendations about the work of executive branch agencies, in order to ensure due compliance with the rules set down by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic; informing the President of the Republic about problems in the Financial Operations Supervision System, and proposing solutions to strengthen the transparency with which the public administration’s resources are managed; advising executive branch authorities about preventing actions that could give rise to administrative or civil liabilities or the filing of criminal charges; promoting the training of public officials and civil servants in administrative, financial, and accounting matters, in conjunction with the pertinent institutions; monitoring how public affairs are managed within all agencies of the executive branch, by participating in the planning, implementation, and administration of technical and financial aspects and of the pursuit of goals; assisting compliance with Presidential Accord No. 91-99, “Creating the Monitoring and Evaluation Committees,” published in The Gazette, No. 143, July 28, 1999 (see Appendix), so that supervision takes place at all levels of the public administration in order to promote greater transparency in the management of the executive’s assets and resources; proposing, to the President of the Republic, legal amendments or draft legislation to strengthen the legal framework of integrity and transparency within the administration, and to establish mechanisms for interinstitutional cooperation to ensure due compliance with those rules; promoting the study and enforcement of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption; supporting actions to promote citizen participation in transparent public administration; and drawing up, in consultation with the agencies of the executive branch and civil society organizations, the National Integrity Policy.  

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? If 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. 

There are no such mechanisms; the legal instruments for this purpose, as indicated above, are currently being processed by the legislature.  

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

No information available. 

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. 

The Constitution and the Municipios Act establish citizen participation as one of the population’s civil participatory rights; it offers a consultation mechanism that can be used by both civil servants and society at large to gauge public opinion. Nevertheless, there are no regulations or specific procedures that set down the mechanics for citizen consultations (Arts. 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, and 55, Law No. 40; Arts. 1, 3, 16, 36, and 37, Political Constitution of the Republic of Nicaragua). 

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

No information available. 

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. 

Nicaragua has mechanisms for facilitating, promoting, and securing the active participation of civil society and non-governmental organizations in the making of public decisions and the adoption of public policies.  

The executive branch has established channels for civil society to submit proposals relating its different areas of competence. The executive recognizes civil society’s right to participate in the running of government and its right to make decisions.  

There are two types of mechanism for facilitating the participation of civil society: The first is structured in nature. These are mechanisms that the state has created or recognized as valid channels for participation; basically, they are consultative bodies, without real decision-making power, their defining feature being that they are structured, regulated, and convened by the central government. This is the case with the National Economic and Social Planning Council (CONPES), created by Presidential Decree No. 15-99 in accordance with Art. 150(13) of the Nicaraguan Constitution.       

All political parties are represented on the CONPES, together with civil society organizations, where they are given the opportunity to share ideas and bring influence to bear on public decision-makers. The function of the CONPES is to advise the President of the Republic in designing and assessing economic and social plans and programs; to examine economic stabilization programs, structural adaptation projects, and other efforts requiring external cooperation; and to offer recommendations about the country’s annual budget. It is intended to be a forum for permanent dialogue and meetings, enhancing and expanding the participation of different social agents in the design of economic and social policies.  

The second group are those non-structured mechanisms which, without moving beyond the logic of the political system, are not put in place by the national government but instead arise from the need of organized civil society to influence the running of public affairs. These mechanisms are placed in a general legal framework that allows them to exist, and they are constitutional in nature; however, most of the consultative bodies created by the State lack a specific legal framework to guarantee their existence and operation, and this leaves them at the mercy of the authorities’ discretionary powers and of the political change that take place in the country.

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

No information available. 

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. 

Mechanisms do exist; however, they are not specific. For example, the Integrated Administrating and Auditing Financial Management System (SIGFA) is intended to serve as a key mechanism for citizen oversight. This program will automate the financial records of public institutions with their own budgets and allow citizens Internet access to those records. Regrettably, the program has not yet been made available to the public; work is underway, however, and it is already on line and running in real time with those portions of the national budget allocated to the central government and thirty other state agencies.  

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

No information available. 

5.            Assistance and Cooperation 

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. 

In Nicaragua, extradition procedures are governed by law and by international treaties. The Constitution does not allow extradition for political crimes or for common crimes related thereto, as defined by national law. It also prohibits the extradition from Nicaragua of Nicaraguan nationals. (Art. 43, Constitution; Arts. 348 to 360, Code of Criminal Procedure). 

Nicaragua maintains extradition treaties with Chile, Spain, the USA, and Mexico. 

·         The extradition treaty with the United States of America (1905), ratified on April 26, 1907, and still in force, allows extradition for common crimes, such as embezzlement and bribery (Arts. 15 and 23). 

·         The extradition treaty with the Kingdom of Spain, signed on November 12, 1998, and ratified the following November 28, provides for extradition for common crimes.  

·         The extradition treaty with the United Mexican States, signed on February 13, 1993, and ratified on April 28, 1998, allows extradition for common crimes, including embezzlement.  

·         The extradition treaty with the Republic of Chile, signed on December 28, 1993, and ratified on April 28, 1998, permits extradition for common crimes and drug-trafficking offenses.  

·         Nicaragua signed the OAS Convention on Extradition on February 25, 1981, but has not yet ratified it. 

The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic maintains a Mutual Assistance Treaty with the other Central American republics. This Treaty (signed on October 29, 1993, and ratified on November 20, 1994) allows the attorney general to request legal assistance from the Central American countries in cases in which evidence is required and persons need to be extradited for common crimes.  

Law 285/1999, amending and supplementing Law No. 177 on Narcotic, Psychotropic, and Controlled Substances, provides for international legal cooperation in connection with those crimes and money laundering. This mutual assistance is intended to facilitate investigations and judicial proceedings related to the crimes of drug trafficking, money laundering, and legitimizing the proceeds of illicit activities (for example, acts of corruption). The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, the Public Prosecution Service, and judicial and police authorities may render assistance to other states and request the same from them (Art. 89, Law 285/1999).  

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.  

Nicaragua has neither issued nor received any requests for the mutual assistance described in the Convention. However, Nicaragua has received an extradition request from the Mexican government, for the crime of embezzlement: this request was received on November 30, 2000, and was resolved on August 10 2001. Nicaragua has also asked Mexico to extradite Mexican citizens for the crimes of fraud, embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds, and conspiracy; the pertinent request was lodged with Mexico’s Secretariat of Foreign Affairs on April 17, 2002, and is currently being processed.  

The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic, under the Mutual Assistance Treaty entered into with the Central American republics, has sought assistance from Panama’s public prosecution service in order to obtain evidence relating to the crimes of money laundering and/or legitimizing the proceeds of illegal activities, misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, fraud, etc., in trials before the country’s courts prosecuting officials of the government of Mr. Arnoldo Alemán Lacayo and the former President himself. The support given to the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic by the Panamanian public prosecution service has been positive and concrete.  

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.

Our country does not have mechanisms that permit 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. 

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.  

Nicaragua has not received or issued any requests for mutual technical cooperation regarding the most effective ways and means of preventing, detecting, investigating, and punishing acts of public corruption, with exchanges of experiences either through agreements or meetings between competent bodies and institutions, and methods and procedures for citizen participation in the fight against corruption.  

c)       Has your country 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. 

Nicaragua has not developed any technical cooperation programs or projects on aspects referred to in the Convention in conjunction with international agencies or organizations.  

6.         Central Authorities  

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?  

The central authority is the Office of Public Ethics.  

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

The central authority is the Office of Public Ethics. 

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).  

Ms. Haydee Acosta Chacón
Executive Director
Office of Public Ethics
Vice-Presidency Building (second floor)

Managua, Nicaragua

Telephone / Fax: (505) 228-6091
E-mail: haydeea@vicepresidencia.gob.ni 

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 Office of Public Ethics was established only recently. It will shortly have the resources needed for making and receiving requests for assistance and cooperation.  

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.  

No requests for assistance or cooperation under the Convention have been received.  

III.            CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 

CONCLUSIONS 

In concluding, we can state that the Nicaraguan legal system does have:  

Standards of conduct for the correct, honest, and proper performance of public functions.  

Mechanisms for enforcing compliance with those standards of conduct.  

Rules intended to prevent conflicts of interest in the performance of public duties.  

Mechanisms for making the prevention of conflicts of interest a reality.  

Rules and mechanisms for ensuring the continued appropriate use of the resources allocated to public officials.  

Rules and mechanisms for registering the income, assets, and liabilities of those who perform public functions in certain posts as specified by law and for making such disclosures public.  

Higher oversight bodies responsible for ensuring compliance with the provisions set forth in Art. III, sections 1, 2, 4, and 11 of the Convention.  

A bill on citizen participation is currently before the National Assembly for discussion and approval.  

There is a draft bill for an Access to Information Act, which will regulate society’s access to information held by government agencies.  

There is a legal framework for mutual assistance that serves to channel requests made by the authorities of other states party seeking assistance in the investigation and prosecution of acts of corruption and for obtaining evidence and following the procedures necessary for facilitating procedures and formalities relating to the investigation and prosecution of acts of corruption.  

There have been exchanges 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.  

No requests for mutual technical cooperation under the Convention have been received or issued.  

The central authority responsible for channeling mutual technical cooperation and assistance has been designated.  

The central authority has received no requests for assistance or cooperation under the Convention.  

Mechanisms exist to enable civil society and non-governmental organizations to participate directly in preventing corruption-related crimes.  

The Organic Law of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic needs to be amended and brought up to date. The Comptroller General’s Office is currently working on the relevant draft legislation.  

The Financial Management and Auditing System (SIGFA) is being brought on line. 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

Amend the regulatory statute of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic.  

Discuss and enact the citizen participation bill, while the executive branch continues consultations with civil society about the draft information access law with a view toward forwarding it to the National Assembly for enactment.  

Request seminars, conventions, and activities of other kinds that will allow exchanges of information and know-how about preventing, detecting, investigating, and punishing acts of public corruption with other regional attorney-generals’ offices and foreign ministries.  

Create systematized mechanisms to enable civil society and non-governmental organizations to participate directly in preventing corruption-related crimes.  

Create a statistical database recording the achievements of civil society and of state agencies.  

We recommend creating and developing agreements and holding meetings for exchanging experiences and mutual technical cooperation on the best ways to prevent, detect, investigate, and punish acts of corruption.  

We recommend continuing the development of other modules of the central SIGFA, implementing it, and training civil servants from ministries and other state agencies.