By Enrique Peña Nieto.
Corruption is a social cancer that violates citizens’ rights and harms the economy. Increasingly, largely thanks to social networks and freedom of expression, society is becoming aware of acts of corruption committed by public officials and private individuals.
It is a decades-old problem we must eradicate through joint efforts by society and government. Accordingly, the first commitment I signed as candidate, and the first legislative proposal I promoted as president-elect, was precisely against corruption.
During these three and a half years, civil society, academia, political forces and the government have worked together to build a solid, institutional anti-corruption structure that empowers citizens and promotes the integrity of public officials and private individuals.
Through this joint effort, we created the National Anticorruption System, which, for the first time, will coordinate the efforts of the various bodies and institutions responsible for fighting corruption.
The three powers and the authorities of the three branches of government will participate in this endeavor.
However, the greatest merit of this achievement corresponds to the constructive participation of civil society organizations in favor of honesty and integrity in public service. In fact, the system will be headed by a citizen, since the presidency of its Coordinating Committee will be rotated among members of the Citizen Participation Committee.
Under the new legislation, the Chief Auditor’s Office will oversee all operations involving federal public resources, including the funds the federal government transfers to states and municipalities.
Moreover, to ensure that the system operates in a standardized manner throughout the country, states must form their own local systems on the basis of the provisions of the General Law on the National Anticorruption System.
It will also have prevention mechanisms such as codes of ethics, action protocols and a rigorous selection of the members of the internal oversight agencies. The system also includes accountability instruments, such as the obligation of public officials to submit their assets and tax declarations, and declarations of interest.
In addition, a Special Prosecutor’s Office for Matters Related to Acts of Corruption has been created, whose director is directly appointed by the Senate, which will be in charge of investigating and punishing crimes related to corruption.
For those of us who exercise public authority, it is our obligation to always listen to and respond to citizens’ message. It is precisely on the basis of this principle that we have created the National Anticorruption System and begun restoring Mexicans’ confidence in their authorities and our country.
I am convinced that this system opens the way for a new era in public service and that it is a historic step towards a culture of legality and ending impunity. It is a triumph for society and one of which all Mexicans should be proud.
What follows is to implement these institutional advances, strengthen the training of public servants and formulate the corresponding regulations. It is necessary for society to remain involved in this fight. I am convinced that together, by working together and coordinating, we can make Mexico a country free of corruption.