Mexico’s National Anti-Corruption Commission, established in March 2014, is still without a prosecutor to head it up due to the Senate’s failure to appoint someone to the position.
Despite a constitutional mandate stipulating that it is the Senate’s responsibility to do so, more than three years later the agency charged with combating corruption remains leaderless.
And any hopes that the appointment might be made this week were dashed when Senate sessions ending for the summer recess.
One member of the National Anti-Corruption System Citizens’ Committee attributes the inaction to a lack of political will.
“The constitutional reform that created the Anti-Corruption Commission is more than three years old, that’s a more than adequate period of time to make the appointment and for the political parties to reach an agreement,” said Luis Manuel Pérez de Acha, who is also a law professor at the National Autonomous University.
Beyond the failure to name a prosecutor, the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Ecologist Green Party (PVEM) have refused to agree to reforms to guarantee the autonomy of the position.
Senators are also currently considering the appointment of 18 special corruption-fighting judges who have been nominated to take up positions on the Federal Court of Administrative Justice.
This week President Enrique Peña Nieto sent a list of proposed appointees to the Senate for ratification.
Both the Anti-Corruption System Citizens’ Committee and the Red por la Rendición de Cuentas (RRC), an organization that advocates for government accountability, have questioned the nominees and a lack of transparency about how they were chosen.
RRC head Lourdes Morales said, “There is great concern over the recent decisions made by the same people who paradoxically applauded the birth of the Anti-Corruption System as they have postponed the appointment of a prosecutor, meaning that it wasn’t born complete.”
Given that the judges will preside over corruption cases related to government officials, the organization considers the judges’ impartiality and ability to be essential and is also concerned that the legal appointments may be rushed through.
In a letter to the Senate the organization wrote, “The requirements of impartiality and ability will not be met if these judges are ratified hurriedly without prior public discussion and basic accountability criteria that guarantee that the appointees have the experience, specialization and ability to carry out these functions.”