Actions to fight corruption

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



In the light of the many cases of alleged fraud and corruption, both in the public and private sectors and presently reported by the press, Transparency Mauritius notes a marked deterioration of the confidence climate within the population. The numerous investigations that are being conducted by the Economic Crime Office demonstrate the urgent necessity to ensure more transparency at the level of administrative procedures and important transactions. These, because of the grey areas that are associated with them, help to create and maintain suspicions, justified or not, in relation to decisions and measures taken by people in position of responsibility.

Once more, Transparency Mauritius calls upon the highest authorities of the country for the legal and judicial framework of the fight against corruption to be reinforced as soon as possible. It is regrettable that the Public Procurement Transparency and Equity Act 1999, which was adopted by the National Assembly, has now been waiting for more than a year to be proclaimed and is, consequently, not yet applicable as a law. For the application of this law to be eventually more effective, Mr René Noël, President de Transparency Mauritius, said on several occasions that the providers of goods and services should be compelled to specify in their tenders that they did not make use and will not make use of any form of corruption or collusion. This declaration on one's honour already exists in several countries and permits, in the event of fault, the application of sanctions envisaged for this purpose. It is also essential that any modification to a contract be referred to the institution responsible for the adjudication of the contract when the modification exceeds a certain threshold. This procedure would then prevent abuses on the level of modifications, which exaggeratedly enlarge certain contracts without it being necessary to obtain approval from the adjudicating institution. Lastly, it is necessary to envisage the publication of the choices and the reasons having justified the adjudication of contracts in order to ensure more transparency. It would be an extremely useful tool that would allow civil society to know the tenders, to know the reasons, which justified the decision to allocate a given contract to a bidder rather than to another. The public could have access to any official information related to the contract.

In addition, the Anti-Corruption Tribunal was dismantled in November 1998 since it had been unable to fulfil its role. The promise was then made that an Anti-Corruption Commission equipped with adequate powers would quickly replace it. 20 months have since elapsed and the population of Mauritius is still waiting for the setting up of this Anti-Corruption Commission. In the meantime, anyone who is victim of corruption does not know how and where to complain. It has been said that the Public Integrity Bill, whose "imminent" introduction at the National Assembly has many times been announced, is to make corruption more difficult and promote integrity within Mauritius.

"We know that the general elections are close and we ask Government to submit the Public Integrity Bill to the National Assembly before its dissolution. The adoption of such a law by all parliamentarians would be a clear sign of the determination of all our representatives, without any distinction whatsoever, that they wish to bring corruption to an end", underlines Mr. René Noël. The fight against corruption is only possible if there is a real will to get rid of this plague in the public and private sectors as well as at the various levels of the hierarchy. During the workshop organised by Transparency Mauritius in February 1998, all the participants, including representatives of the various sectors of the country, had proposed an action plan in order to successfully combat corruption. In order to fight corruption and punish corrupters and corrupt individuals and to cure, in the long run, this evil as well as its misdeeds, the unanimously approved action plan stressed upon the urgent necessity to get on with the following principal points:

Moreover, Transparency Mauritius is anxious of the negative consequences, which can have the many cases of alleged corruption on the image and reputation of Mauritius abroad, at both regional and international levels. Mauritius cannot take such a risk in an increasingly difficult economic context determined by a highly competitive global environment. It is not enough any more, nowadays, to say that one is against corruption and in favour of integrity. Concrete actions are needed to prove one's determination.


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