First report of the Zero Impunity project reveals an increase in cases of administrative corruption

Oct 15, 2021 | New

The first report sharing findings from the Justice and Impunity Observatory at the Anti-Corruption Institute has been published, within the framework of the Zero Impunity project with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy. It focused on criminal proceedings for crimes committed against the public administration or against mechanisms of democratic participation, electoral irregularities and processes around the loss of investiture, examining how best to make this information transparent, present potential risks of impunity and empower civil society around the different elements of control and oversight that they can exercise against the actions of public servants. The report reveals that acts of corruption of this kind have increased by 68%, from 432 cases in 2019 to 727 in 2020.

The report is compiled using graphs and databases provided by the Attorney General’s Office, the Supreme Court of Justice, the National Electoral Council and the Council of State; and from these graphs, the report included a description and analysis of the information presented. Among the most relevant findings, they discovered that:

  1. In 2020, there was an increase in the occurrence of events which are alleged to be crimes against the public administration, involving public servants in publically elected positions, compared to the immediately preceding years (2014-2019).
  2. In local electoral politics, there is only very limited social control exercised by citizens over the registration of candidates. This is evidenced by the number of requests to revoke the registration of candidacies which were submitted by members of the public to the National Electoral Council during local elections held between 2015 and 2019.
  3. In 2020, there was a general reduction in several indicators of prosecution and criminal proceedings for crimes against the public administration and against the mechanisms of democratic participation. This is evidenced by the decrease in legal orders for capture, preclusions, acceptance of charges, and pre-agreements. In addition, there was also a reduction in the number of times the principle of opportunity was applied and in the number of convictions following criminal investigations into crimes against the public administration.
  4. 7,367 criminal proceedings have been filed for crimes against the mechanisms of democratic participation and against the public administration, due to the impossibility of finding or establishing the liable party, despite the fact that in these crimes the liable party is usually the democratic system or the State. That is to say, in these cases where the liable party is known, the only reason why they are deemed to be ‘not found or established’ is because criminal activity has compromised the protection of legal rights around the integrity of the public administration and administrative morality.

In Colombia, this is the first time that a data collection study has been carried out in order to better understand the true dimensions of the fight against corruption. See the full report here.