Mexico introduces new anti-corruption legislation
Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto signed new legislation yesterday which will introduce a new National Anti-Corruption System. The legislation goes much of the way towards meeting the demands of a citizens initiative supported by 600,000 signatures and was broadly welcomed.
The English language text of two press releases explaining the new legislation as published on the presidential website are as follows:
Towards a Mexico without Corruption
Published 19th July 2016
I am convinced that this system opens the way for a new era in public service and that it is a historic step towards a culture of legality and ending impunity.
By Enrique Peña Nieto.
Corruption is a social cancer that violates citizens’ rights and harms the economy. Increasingly, largely thanks to social networks and freedom of expression, society is becoming aware of acts of corruption committed by public officials and private individuals.
It is a decades-old problem we must eradicate through joint efforts by society and government. Accordingly, the first commitment I signed as candidate, and the first legislative proposal I promoted as president-elect, was precisely against corruption.
During these three and a half years, civil society, academia, political forces and the government have worked together to build a solid, institutional anti-corruption structure that empowers citizens and promotes the integrity of public officials and private individuals.
Through this joint effort, we created the National Anticorruption System, which, for the first time, will coordinate the efforts of the various bodies and institutions responsible for fighting corruption.
The three powers and the authorities of the three branches of government will participate in this endeavour.
However, the greatest merit of this achievement corresponds to the constructive participation of civil society organizations in favour of honesty and integrity in public service. In fact, the system will be headed by a citizen, since the presidency of its Coordinating Committee will be rotated among members of the Citizen Participation Committee.
Under the new legislation, the Chief Auditor’s Office will oversee all operations involving federal public resources, including the funds the federal government transfers to states and municipalities.
Moreover, to ensure that the system operates in a standardized manner throughout the country, states must form their own local systems on the basis of the provisions of the General Law on the National Anticorruption System.
It will also have prevention mechanisms such as codes of ethics, action protocols and a rigorous selection of the members of the internal oversight agencies. The system also includes accountability instruments, such as the obligation of public officials to submit their assets and tax declarations, and declarations of interest.
In addition, a Special Prosecutor’s Office for Matters Related to Acts of Corruption has been created, whose director is directly appointed by the Senate, which will be in charge of investigating and punishing crimes related to corruption.
For those of us who exercise public authority, it is our obligation to always listen to and respond to citizens’ message. It is precisely on the basis of this principle that we have created the National Anticorruption System and begun restoring Mexicans’ confidence in their authorities and our country.
I am convinced that this system opens the way for a new era in public service and that it is a historic step towards a culture of legality and ending impunity. It is a triumph for society and one of which all Mexicans should be proud.
What follows is to implement these institutional advances, strengthen the training of public servants and formulate the corresponding regulations. It is necessary for society to remain involved in this fight. I am convinced that together, by working together and coordinating, we can make Mexico a country free of corruption.
National Anti-Corruption System
Published 18th July 2016
The government confirms its commitment to preventing and fighting corruption, transparency and accountability.
As a result of the joint efforts of civil society, academia, the private sector and legislators, Mexico has a National Anticorruption System for the first time in its history.
The constitutional amendment that created the National Anticorruption System as a forum for coordination between the authorities of all orders of government was published on May 27, 2015.
During the Extraordinary Period of the LXII Legislature, seven secondary legislation packages were passed to prevent and fight corruption.
•General Law on the National Anticorruption System.
* This provides the basis for coordinating the SNA at the federal and local level as well as the characteristics of the National Control System and the National Digital Platform.
• General Law on Administrative Responsibilities.
* This establishes the administrative responsibilities and obligations of public officials, to submit declarations on their assets, conflicts of interest and taxes.
•Law of Control and Accountability of the Federation, as well as amendments to the Law of Fiscal Coordination and the General Law of Government Accounting.
* This strengthens the capacity of the Chief Audit Office of the Federation to fight corruption.
•Amendments to the Organic Law of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice.
* The Federal Court of Fiscal and Administrative Justice becomes the new Federal Court of Administrative Justice, which will now be able to sanction both public officials and private individuals for grave offenses.
•Amendments to the Organic Law of the Attorney General’s Office.
* These create the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Corruption, as an autonomous body for investigating and prosecuting acts of corruption.
•Amendments to the Federal Penal Code.
*These establish the sanctions that will be applicable to those who commit acts of corruption: public servants and private individuals.
•Amendments to the Organic Law of Federal Public Administration.
* These strengthen the Public Administration Secretariat’s capacity to prevent and fight corruption
•The SNA coordinates social actors and authorities at different levels of government, to prevent, investigate and punish corruption.
•A coordinating committee, headed by a citizen has been created; there will also be a Committee for Citizen Participation (with five members), selected by renowned academics.
•The SNA has several mechanisms designed to prevent acts of corruption:
•Ethics codes, action protocols and self-regulatory mechanisms.
•The SNA establishes various instruments that enable clear, effective accountability:
•The National Digital Platform, comprising the system of assets development and declaration of interests; the National System of sanctioned public servants and individuals; the National Control System; the directory of public servants involved in public procurement; and public complaints about administrative misconduct and acts of corruption.
•The General Law on Administrative Responsibilities defines the acts or omissions that may be committed by both public servants and private individuals:
•Serious Administrative Offences (Jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Fiscal and Administrative Justice), Minor Administrative Offences and Acts of Individuals linked to Serious Administrative Offences.
The Enactment of the Laws of the National Anticorruption System confirms the government’s commitment to preventing and fighting corruption, transparency and accountability.