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Source: CNN Chile

“Pandemic procurement provides fertile ground for corruption”

In conversation with Influencers of CNN Chile, Susana Sierra, president of Chile Transparente, talked about how to fight corruption in Chile and the lack of information that citizens have had during the health crisis.

The academic says that political distrust increased during the pandemic: “Indeed, data transparency is very important, because there begins to be a loss of trust and institutions are weakened.”

“What we are following today is the issue of COVID-19 purchases, there opens a very fertile field for corruption of who is awarded these purchases and that these processes are effectively transparent. This emergency can also be used for influence peddling,” he said.

Then, he accused: “In Chile there have been irregularities with food boxes, especially with municipalities and health residences, which are issues that are being investigated and hopefully actions will be taken if irregularities are found”.

“What scares me about Chile is that we talk little about corruption, hopefully nothing is happening. But if it is found to be happening, hopefully the government will take concrete action and not sweep the issues under the rug,” he added.

Sierra assures that trust has not been restored in Chile: “It is very serious because when we stop trusting institutions, it leaves a very fertile field for corruption, because nobody trusts anything anymore. If we don’t believe in the judiciary, then what do we care about the laws, if we don’t trust the sanctions either. Today trust is more deteriorated than ever”.

He also argues that companies and institutions themselves should take charge of corruption internally: “The Comptroller’s Office plays an important role, but we cannot delegate everything to it. Municipalities should be required to have control and transparency processes. The regulatory framework in Chile is not bad, what happens is that it is not pursued, it is not sanctioned. Companies have a fundamental role in this.”

Finally, he ruled out that in Chile we have less corruption than in other Latin American countries: “If we talked more about the issue or people denounced more, we would not be so well in the rankings, but generally those rankings are only in terms of perceptions. In Chile there is a corruption of favor for favor’s sake. We are used to getting things that way.”