The construction of a system to fight corruption within Bolivian legislation has been carried out progressively since 2009 with the promulgation of different regulations such as Law No. 1390 to Strengthen the Fight Against Corruption, Law No. 004, Law No. 341, Law No. 458, Law No. 974 and Law No. 1390. Likewise, as a more operational norm, through Supreme Decree No. 0214 the National Policy for Transparency and Fight against Corruption – PNT was approved, which was abrogated by the recently issued Supreme Decree No. 4872 of February 2 of the year 2023, which also approved the Plurinational Policy to Fight Corruption.
In this sense, below, we present a review of the abrogated Policy compared to the new approved Policy.
The principle of Transparency as the basis of the new Policy
The main purpose of the new Policy is for all levels of the State to have a commitment to society to implement risk management systems, complaints, interoperable asset verifications, public accountability and monitoring of criminal proceedings within entities, so that In this way, prevention and fight against corruption mechanisms are generated. Having all these measures is intended to cover publicity and, consequently, transparency, the acts within the public administration.
As the main objective of this Policy is transparency within the public administration, principles are established more broadly than those set forth in the previous Policy approved by Supreme Decree No. 0214, which only established the principle of human rights and the of social dialogue. The new Policy incorporates the principle of transparency, and makes a distinction between active transparency in charge of public institutions, a principle by virtue of which these institutions must disseminate and provide truthful information to the citizen; On the other hand, passive transparency is contemplated, which implies the citizen’s right to request and receive the information that he requires, this information having to be clear and provided efficiently. The relationship of both principles forms a collaborative transparency in which both the State and the citizenry generate joint responsibilities; and lastly, effective transparency in which the State must promote citizen involvement and request transparency.
In addition to the principles of transparency in its different forms, the Policy also establishes the following: Broad inter-institutional cooperation; culture of participation; Standardization; Digitized public management; Digital participation with the State; Advertising and simplicity.
Mechanisms for the implementation of the new Plurinational Anti-Corruption Policy
For the materialization of the Plurinational Policy to Fight Corruption, guidelines are established that must be followed to obtain the expected results. It should be noted that these guidelines are quite similar to those established in the old Policy. These guidelines are:
1. The digitization of information and interoperability;
It implies the development of digitization and fluid communication between the different state entities, for these purposes the creation and development of the following systems is contemplated:
– Risk Management and Early Warning System within public entities.
– Online Complaints Management System so that there is the same system, to store complaints for corruption cases in one place.
– Interoperable System for the Verification of Sworn Declarations of Assets and Income, in relation to the digitalization of the patrimonial investigation.
– Parameterized System for Monitoring and Management of Criminal Proceedings for Crimes of Corruption and Legitimation of Illicit Gains.
2. Articulation with organized civil society; It seeks the participation of organized civil society and private companies to develop the following aspects:
– Effective Social Control on the part of the beneficiaries of public works, goods and services.
– Citizen transparency observatory that allows all citizens to carry out a permanent external evaluation.
– Development of Compliance mechanisms within private companies,that make it possible to detect acts of corruption in state contracts.
3. Training in ethics and transparency values; The development of values from school is focused, based on the following components:
– Permanent updating of the curriculum for the implementation of values.
– Promote specialization courses on issues related to the fight against corruption.
– Collective construction of a commitment to ethics in public servants.
4. Access to information in a collaborative way; Promotion of access to information as a transparency mechanism, this through the following elements:
– Public accountability systems with uniform and standardized parameters.
– Standardization of the information published by the institutions on their digital portals.
– Publication of relevant statistical data from the different entities.
In conclusion, we have that the Anti-Corruption Policy has been renewed in Bolivia, although the changes implemented are not profound, the search for the use of technology as a tool to make public administration transparent, a path to which the entities of the different levels of government must gradually transition.
Thus, the implementation of the Plurinational Policy to Fight Corruption is an instrument that the State has to fight against this problem so present in our reality, but it is also a tool for society to control and demand information in search of to avoid, alert and identify cases of corruption that are generated in public institutions, taking into account that in view of its objectives, the Policy gives citizens a preponderant and collaborative role.