This article first appeared in News in America on August 9, 2021.
The National Integrity and Corruption Prevention Strategy 2021-2030 (ENIPC), was officially presented to the presidencies of the Supreme Powers this Friday in a ceremony held at the Costa Rican Bar Association.
The event was attended by the President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado, the president of the Legislative Assembly, Silvia Hernández, the president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Fernando Cruz, and the president a.i. of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, Eugenia Zamora, before whom the objectives of the ENIPC, as well as its mechanisms of action, were presented.
“We, the Powers of the Republic, are here with the conviction of fighting, preventing and sanctioning acts of corruption, we need the coordinated, orchestrated and committed work of all the actors of society to protect our Social Rule of Law and the welfare of all people”, affirmed President Alvarado.
Five key axes
The fundamental objective of the ENIPC is to unify the institutional response to corruption, establish a common horizon, definitive and evaluable measures as well as strengthen the impact of these efforts for the country, divided into five axes:
– Governance in the fight against corruption
– Management of human talent to fight corruption
– Promotion of citizen participation and control
– Corruption risk management in public-private interaction.
– Access to information of public interest and accountability.
The ENIPC is the result of a co-creation process led by the Public Ethics Ombudsman’s Office and the civil society organization the Costa Rica Integra Association, which has been working since 2019 with the participation of a wide number of institutions and organizations. It also responds to the manifesto to strengthen actions against organized crime signed by the presidencies of the powers last June 17.
Justice Fernando Cruz, president of the Supreme Court of Justice, affirmed that “the commitment is of all public institutions to generate norms, mechanisms, coordination and structures that allow shielding public actions from the scourge of organized crime and corruption”.
“From the Judicial Branch we will always be willing to continue collaborating and generating synergies to materialize this type of initiatives in favor of a better Costa Rica for all,” she added.
Eugenia Zamora, acting president magistrate of the TSE, highlighted that the ENIPC is one more effort to generate a common framework for action against one of the main scourges of institutionalism: corruption.
“Therefore, it is positive that the institutionality itself generates instruments to adequately address a complex and multifactorial phenomenon, to protect itself from attacks that call into question the historical achievements of our country that have allowed the consolidation of a public framework that, together with a citizenry convinced that democracy is the best form of government among all possible, place us as a Latin American reference of political stability”, commented the acting president of the TSE.
Finally, the president of the Legislative Assembly, Silvia Hernández stated that: “we have been many years with the incessant idea that our country is drowned by corruption. Scandal after scandal, year after year, this evil seems to anchor us and prevents us from taking off with all our potential, to reach the full development to which we aspire as a nation. Paradoxically, much has been done to fight corruption in Costa Rica and certainly, in many cases, the justice system complies. Sometimes with delays, but it complies. Much remains to be done and I am glad that we have a valuable tool to continue building an honest, transparent nation that achieves the high values that give it meaning.”
The Strategy establishes a scheme for Anticorruption Governance supported by a culture of public integrity, which articulates access to information of public interest and accountability; corruption risk management in public-private interaction; human talent management and the promotion of citizen participation and control.
The document also presents recommendations such as legal reforms to adapt the country’s regulatory framework to modern and innovative approaches.
The document presents concrete actions to strengthen the criminal and administrative control system to improve the protection of those who report acts of corruption against reprisals or threats by disseminating the mechanisms for making complaints, creating electronic reporting spaces in the institutions, increasing the follow-up of anonymous complaints as well as the confidentiality of the whistleblower.
The activity was also attended by prominent members of the Attorney General’s Office and the Comptroller General’s Office as well as government ministers.