Mexico to Implement New National Anti-Corruption System

Mexico to Implement New National Anti-Corruption System

In accordance with a Constitutional Amendment aimed at combating corruption that was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (the “Gazette”) on May 27, 2015, several decrees were enacted on July 18, 2016 and published in the Gazette. These decrees are aimed at implementing, amending and supplementing various laws and acts, which together combine to comprise the new National Anti-Corruption System (NAS).

According to Transparency International, Mexico scored only 35 out of 100 in its Corruption Perceptions Index 2015, putting it among the bottom 114 countries that scored 50 or below. After receiving significant pressure from organized civil society, Mexico’s government has been showing interest in combating such corruption. The NAS is considered to be the strongest ever government attempt to combat corruption and will be focused on increasing transparency and control over the management of public resources and punishing acts of corruption.

 The package of laws that form the NAS are as follows:

(i)                 General Law of the National Anti-Corruption System;

(ii)               General Act of Administrative Responsibilities;

(iii)             Federal Criminal Code and its amendments;

(iv)             Organic Law of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice;

(v)               Organic Law of Federal Public Administration and its amendments;

(vi)             Account Control Law; and

(vii)           Organic Law of the General Attorney’s Office and its amendments.

The most relevant aspects and considerations of the NAS include:

The Coordinating Committee of the NAS will be composed of: (a) the Citizen Committee (which will preside over it); (b) the Federal Court of Administrative Justice; (c) the Ministry of Public Function; (d) the Superior Audit of the Federation; (e) the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Acts of Corruption; (f) the National Institute of Transparency Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data; and (g) the Federal Judicial Council.

The Coordinating Committee will be responsible for defining the national Anti-Corruption policy, managing the Platform statements of public servants, managing the National Registry of Public Servants, as well as defining the public policies that ensure the prevention, detection, investigation, and punishment of acts of corruption.

A new Chapter was created and included in the Federal Criminal Code, titled “Acts of Corruption”, which expands conducts that are considered offenses and crimes in this context. For example:

(a) Unlawful exercise of the public service;

(b) misuse of powers and faculties; and

(c) “influence peddling” (a practice by which someone uses his or her
personal influence or connections in government or business to receive
preferential treatment).

  • The General Law of Administrative Responsibilities (known as “3 of 3” Act), which specifies, among other points:

(a) The periodic duty that public servants have to present a statement on interest and ownership and tax returns, which shall be public, except for the information that may affect private life or personal data;

(b) administrative responsibilities, obligations and penalties applicable to public servants in relation to acts of corruption;

(c) penalties for individuals who participate in acts of corruption, with particular emphasis on individuals linked to the activities of the state, particularly with respect to Public Procurement (the practice of government entities purchasing products and services directly from companies pursuant to the Public Procurement Law);

(d) the mechanisms for citizens to file complaints of acts of corruption anonymously; and

(e) the resources and legal means of defense.

With respect to the imposition of penalties relating to acts of corruption that are applicable to companies involved in the activities of the state, the judge will take into consideration whether the company has policies, systems, mechanisms, and codes of conduct aimed at compliance with the standards of integrity.

The NAS will be fully implemented when these amendments and enacted laws enter into force, which will occur within a one-year term, and only after the Congress and the Legislatures of the States have enacted and modified their local legislation in accordance with the General Law of the National Anti-Corruption System.

Finally, the Senate of the Republic has the obligation to appoint the Special Prosecutor for Acts of Corruption, which is expected to happen soon, since there is no established term for this designation.

This newsletter is intended only as a general discussion of the addressed issues, and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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