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Indifferent about corruption

Mexico is failing to improve the perception that there is progress in the fight against corruption
Chamber of Deputies - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
22/02/2018
08:46
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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The corruption level in Mexico was exposed once more after the organization Transparency International published the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017. Our country fared worse than in 2016. Moreover, Mexico has now the worst score out of the G20 countries and of the member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

At first, we could think it is contradictory that now that we have a National Anti-Corruption System, now that there is access to government information, and that we have the Superior Audit Office of the Federation, the score of 2016 is lower than that of 2017 and we are failing in improving the perception that there is progress on fighting the misuse of public expenditure.

However, there are several possible explanations for this. The main one is that corruption is singled out but rarely are cases investigated and if they are, then they are poorly prepared and there is no punishment for the perpetrators. Public opinion is still expecting to have more information on the case of former public officials linked to Odebrecht, the Brazilian company that flooded Latin America with millions of dollars in bribes to be awarded government contracts. In several countries, dozens of public officials have been arrested, except in Mexico.

Another explanation is that political forces aren't interested in appointing the heads of key organisms, such as the General Prosecutor's Office, the Prosecutor's Anti-Corruption Office, and even the Superior Audit Office. How can we ensure an adequate law enforcement and proper investigations if there is no visible person in charge of those offices?

There is also the matter of appointing the 18 magistrates of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice, part of the National Anti-Corruption System.

It seems indifference is the dominant sentiment. What is vital for the citizens seems not to be for officials and political parties.

With the index published yesterday, Transparency International is added to a long list of non-government organizations providing data that confirms the grave deficiencies Mexico has in several aspects of public life, while those who have the decision-making power to reverse this situation are focused on the electoral contest or on securing their political future.

With legislators who aren't committed 100% to their duties, little will be achieved in the short term. Indifference can turn out to be quite expensive and cost us years of lack of progress and negative reports.

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