Anti-corruption recommendations largely ignored

21 October 2017

No sooner than inaugurated last year, the Kuczynski government was rocked by the scandal involving the president’s chief health advisor boasting about the opportunities his appointment to the private health providers with which he was linked. Stung by such flagrant abuse of power, the government thereupon announced the formation of an ‘integrity commission’ to come up with suggestions of how to root out corruption in government. The commission, presided over by Eduardo Vega, the former acting ombudsman, came up with 100 such suggestions of what needed to be done.

A recent survey conducted jointly by Transparencia, Proética, the Pacific University and the Catholic University shows that of these 100 suggestions, only 13 have been properly implemented and another 17 only partially. This leaves 70% of the suggestions effectively ignored over the past twelve months since the row first erupted.

The underlying problem here is the sensation, ever more widely-shared, that the Kuczynski government is doing little in practice to tackle the problem of corruption. According to a recent poll by Pulso, 42% of respondents say that the government is doing nothing to remedy the problem of corruption, a 10 percentage point increase on a previous poll two months ago. The danger is that failure to be seen tackling corruption further reduces the government’s legitimacy in the eyes of voters.

Of course, dealing with corruption is easier said than done, not least because the executive has little hold over the institutions perceived to be the most corrupt: the Congress, political parties, and the justice system. The sources of corruption, whether drug traffickers, foreign construction companies or even domestic private sector businesses are often difficult to pin down let alone chastise. As Augusto Alvarez argues in an opinion piece in last week’s La República, Kuczynski needs to send a convincing signal that he means business before it is too late. 

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