This article first appeared in La Segunda on November 09, 2017.
Regarding the presidential elections and the good that each candidate wants to do for the country, it is necessary to emphasize the general interest in improving the standards of probity and transparency. These aspects are so important that, if they are not measured and controlled, they can end up hindering the rest of the public policies that advocate for achieving greater growth and a better quality of life for all. It is an area that, in addition to being relevant for the economy, has also become a serious concern for citizens worldwide, who expect concrete measures to be adopted so that the private sector does not continue to incur bad corporate practices.
However, and returning to the previous point, there is little point in implementing new laws if there is no evaluation of how the laws that are currently being applied are working. The task of combating corruption remains half done. The case of Carabineros, for example, showed that there is corruption in State agencies and that the necessary controls were not being applied. Therefore, to supervise, to encourage whistleblowing, and to protect those who dare to inform are indispensable points and should be in all the government programs of the candidates to La Moneda.
Another exemplary sanction can punish public officials who have incurred corruption, removing them from the opportunity to hold a new position in the sector. Focus on the day-to-day irregularities that occur in municipalities, which involve mayors and which should meet the same compliance standards as the private sector, and simplify bureaucratic procedures that lead to more corruption.
Numerous solutions could help us to be a better country: penalize corruption between private parties, a norm that passed its third legislative procedure and that we hope will be approved soon; follow the recommendations of the OCRE to be more efficient in prosecuting bribery; worry so that corruption crimes do not prescribe in such a short period, and assume a real commitment from the private sector, beyond speeches and codes of ethics. All of these are pending tasks. With a new government, we have an opportunity to carry them out.
By Susana Sierra