The Dominican Republic advances five positions in its ability to deal with corruption
In the last year, the Dominican Republic climbed five positions in its ability to fight the corrupt. ( EXTERNAL SOURCE )
The Dominican Republic registered the most significant progress in its capacity to combat corruption (CCC) and went from tenth place in 2021 to fifth in 2022, according to the fourth measurement of the Council of the Americas (Americas Society / Council of the Americas, for its acronym in English).
The Caribbean country advanced “+0.81” and obtained a score of 5.19 to continue on its “two-year upward trajectory,” which indicates the Index of Capacity to Fight corruption in 2022.
The same report gives Costa Rica (+0.66) the second place with the most significant progress in its tools to fight this scourge, a nation that is also the second, after Uruguay, to have the best position in the evaluation of 15 countries of the region.
According to the Council of the Americas, the Dominican Republic improved its global score by 18% since 2021, driven by 24% growth in the category of legal capacity and “significant progress in the variables that evaluate international cooperation and anti-corruption agencies.”
These achievements – he indicates – reflect the commitment of President Luis Abinader in the fight against corruption since he came to power in 2020. His administration has proposed a law to promote transparency in public contracts, has instituted compliance programs in public institutions, and has enacted a law to simplify bureaucracy.”
Advances with low budget
Despite highlighting the advances in combatting corruption, the Index of Capacity to Combat Corruption in 2022 highlights at the same time that the Public Ministry, the body that prosecutes illegal executions in public functions, needs “more resources” to fight evil.
In that sense, remember that the attorney general, Miriam Germán Brito, has asked the National Congress for more funds for the Public Ministry.
In the 2021 General State Budget Law for the Attorney General’s Office, 7,005.6 million pesos were approved, which meant a reduction of RD$4,709.4 million concerning the item for 2020.
The decrease in the budget was equivalent to 40%, according to the complaint of the then Public Ministry, which, for that same year, requested the same amount with which it was handled in 2020: RD$11,715 million. Finally, the National Congress raised the item to RD$10,568,591,559.91 million in the Complementary Budget in 2021.
The Council of the Americas points out that high-level anti-corruption investigations have continued in the last year, such as Operation Coral and Operation Anti-Octopus. However, it contends that these investigations “have primarily focused on individuals linked to the previous administration, leading to accusations that these investigations are politically motivated.”
Remember that the Abinader government has also investigated alleged acts of corruption within its own administration and that the President is one of the political leaders indicated “in the leak of the Pandora Papers of October 2021, which detailed the use of companies in tax havens by political leaders, and stated that it has always complied with its tax obligations.
The Dominican Republic registered a significant increase in the variable that assesses the mobilization of civil society against corruption, indicating that citizens continue to hold the government to account.
As for “critical issues to monitor” in the Dominican Republic, he echoes the possible constitutional reform so that the Attorney General’s Office of the Dominican Republic would be more independent from the Executive Power.
“Apart from the possible reform, the current attorney general is generally considered as an independent figure,” he cites in this part.
Likewise, it mentions that the President of the Republic has endorsed the domain extinction bill known in the National Congress to return stolen goods to the State and assets of illicit origin, which “could be approved before the end of 2022.”
The Financial Analysis Unit evaluates the risk of money laundering at the national level before the subsequent evaluation of the country by the International Financial Action Task Force, which concludes the description of the Dominican situation in its fight against corruption.
Score by countries
The country with the highest score on the CCC 2022 Index is Uruguay (7.42 out of 10), which has held first place for three consecutive years. Uruguay is followed by Costa Rica (7.11), Chile (6.88), and Peru (5.66); these two countries remain in the first three places.
The Dominican Republic (5.19), in fifth place, is followed by Argentina (5.04), Panama (4.96), Colombia (4.87), Ecuador (4.82), Brazil (4.76), Paraguay (4.45), Mexico (4.05), Guatemala (3.38), Bolivia (2.57) and Venezuela (1.63).
The study indicates that the Dominican Republic’s greatest capacity is the influence of civil society and the media above the legal, democratic, and political institutions. On the other hand, in the countries that occupy the first three places (Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Chile), their greatest strengths are their legal capacity, democracy, and political institutions.
What is the Americas Society/Council of the Americas?
In his report, he explains that it is the main forum dedicated to education, debate, and dialogue in the Americas and that its “mission is to promote understanding of contemporary political, social and economic issues facing Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada.”