Corruption is a complex phenomenon that has diminished institutions and has damaged Mexican society, economy, and democracy. The effort to fight corruption in Mexico has been reflected in the modification and creation of the necessary laws to deal with this phenomenon. As an example of this, recent years have been marked by important constitutional reforms and the creation of new laws that constitute the normative framework of the National Anticorruption System (NAS).
The Constitutional Reform of February 7, 2014, adds and reforms various provisions of Article 6 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States in matters of Transparency. This reform expanded the catalog of subjects obliged to make their information transparent. The reform included, for example, the obligation to make public the information of political parties, trade unions, autonomous bodies, trusts, and public funds. It also strengthens the guarantor agency at the federal level and lays the foundation for creating autonomous local agencies throughout the country; as well as, it recognizes and promotes access to information as a fundamental right for the development of Mexican democratic life. Another great effort that was achieved in favor of transparency was the publication of the General Law of Access to Public Information on May 4, 2014.
On May 27, 2015, the Decree, by which various provisions of the Political Constitution on Combat of Corruption were reformed and added, was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation. Among these reforms, four stand out: the first is the creation of the National Anticorruption System in article 113 of the Constitution. The second is the recognition of the power that Congress has to issue laws that establish the bases of the National Anticorruption System. The third one establishes the responsibilities of public servants and individuals who commit acts of corruption. And, finally, the fourth reform expands and strengthens the powers of control of the Superior Audit of the Federation.
With the creation of the National Anticorruption System, a series of secondary laws were published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on July 18, 2016, of which four were new laws and three were reformed.
These laws are:
1. General Law of the National Anticorruption System. This Law was created to establish the coordination bases between the Federation, the states, the municipalities and the City Halls of Mexico City for the operation of the NAS.
2. General Law of Administrative Responsibilities. This is also a new Law, which establishes the powers of the government orders to establish the responsibilities, obligations, and sanctions of public servants for the acts or omissions in which they incur.
3. Organic Law of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice. This Law was created to establish the integration, organization, attributions, and functioning of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice (FCAJ). In addition, the Law establishes that the FCAJ is a jurisdictional body with autonomy to issue its rulings and with full jurisdiction. The FCAJ is part of the NAS.
4. Law on Control and Accountability of the Federation. This Law was created with the NAS and contains everything related to the review and inspection of the Public Account. This law strengthens the role of the Superior Audit of the Federation.
5. Organic Law of the Attorney General. This law was reformed to establish the functions and powers of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office in matters of crimes related to acts of corruption.
6. Federal Criminal Code. This law was reformed to harmonize the penal code with the NAS. This reform included a title to the Code of Crimes for acts of corruption.
7. Organic Law of the Federal Public Administration. This Law was reformed to establish the role of the Ministry of Public Administration as a fundamental part of the fight against corruption. In addition, it establishes the functions of this Ministry as part of the Coordinating Committee of the NAS.
The National Anticorruption System (NAS) is an instance of coordination between different federal and local authorities that seek to effectively combat corruption. It is composed by the Coordinating Committee, the Citizen Participation Committee, the Governing Committee of the National Control System and the Local Anticorruption Systems. It also has an Executive Secretariat and an Executive Commission.
The Coordinating Committee of the NAS is responsible for establishing coordination mechanisms among the members of the National System and for designing, promoting and evaluating public policies to combat corruption.
This committee is made up of the holders of the Superior Audit Office of the Federation, the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for the fight against Corruption, the Ministry of Public Administration, the Council of the Federal Judiciary, as well as the presidents of the Committee of Citizen Participation, of the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data and of the Federal Court of Administrative Justice.
The Citizen Participation Committee is the instance of connection with the social and academic organizations related to the NAS matters and, in addition, contributes to the fulfillment of the objectives of the Coordinating Committee. This committee is composed of five citizens of probity and prestige who have stood out for their contribution to transparency, accountability or the fight against corruption.
The Governing Committee of the National Supervision System has the task of establishing actions and coordination mechanisms to promote the exchange of information, ideas and experiences with the objective of advancing in the development of the control of public resources. This committee is made up of the holders of the Superior Audit of the Federation and the Ministry of Public Administration; as well as, seven rotating members from among the local superior control entities and the secretariats or counterparts responsible for internal control in the states.
Local Anticorruption Systems must be integrated and operate in a similar way to the National Anticorruption System. That is, the anticorruption state laws must follow the guidelines of the General Law of the National Anticorruption System to create local systems.
JOSÉ OCTAVIO LÓPEZ PRESA
President of the Coordinating Committee of the NAS
The National Anticorruption System has the mission of coordinating the fight against corruption between local and federal authorities. The NAS articulates institutional efforts so that, by increasing transparency and accountability, the trust of citizens in public institutions is strengthened. It seeks to prevent, detect and punish administrative responsibilities and acts of corruption and, moreover, has the mission of designing and implementing the anti-corruption policy.