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Nov 27, 2017

UNCAC implementation needs no excuses

Julius Espat

The signing of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in December 2016, is nearing its one-year anniversary.  Despite the ratification of the document, legislation is yet to be passed in order to bring government into compliance with the accord.  On Friday, Public Accounts Committee Chairman Julius Espat weighed in on UNCAC and criticized the present administration for dragging its foot on the matter.


Julius Espat, Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee

“I think they’re playing a game to be able to drag it on for as long as by making up every possible excuse on the books. Not to be able to pass legislation to have the UNCAC function. Guatemala is a clear example where the UNCAC has functioned to a certain extent and it is also a clear example of how it can stagnate and derail an economy if you look at it. So we have to be careful as to what can be done. But there are things that we have to fix in how we govern in this country. One; the total power given to the Prime Minister; we have seen from 1981 where that has created serious problems for us. You cannot have a Prime Minister with total power. Two; the laws that have that everything at the end of it has to be at the discretion of the minister that again you have seen in the inquiries with the senate how that can be problematic. Three; every system that you have when it pertains to check and balances, you only have it on paper, it is a theory, you are not having it done in reality. And I can explain to you the public accounts committee as I have said, the integrity commission that I have said, the independence of your judiciary, the independence of your auditor general, the functioning role of your accountant general. All these things are instrumental in making insure that we can move our economy forward and so the UNCAC is something I believe is possible but I don’t think it will eventually happen because this present government does not have any interest in having it done.” 

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