Corruption perception in Colombia is sustained

Despite five years of enforcement of Law 1474 of 2011, statistics seem to indicate that the anticorruption statute has not been useful to change the negative perceptions over one of the topics which most impacts Colombia.

Corruption continues to be one of the factors which Colombia is more associated in the neighborhood and only countries such Chile and Uruguay seem to show positive results against the issue.

In the latest International Transparency survey of 2015, Colombia was ranked 83 among 168 countries with a failing score of 37 over 100.

Although a strict correlation between perception and reality cannot be considered, the latter is concerning as according to a 2013 Corpovisiones survey on trust perception, politicians were scored low with 9%,  followed by public servants with 13%; which given their nature are those called on to modify these institutional practices.

The greatest trust is on professors (60 %), the church (57%) and the Army (51%), mainly because its members are closer to the citizens during almost all their life and inclusively since childhood as is the case of professors,” said Fernando Augusto Segura, Director of Civil Service Participation, Transparency and Citizen Services.

Furthermore among the different government institutions, most Colombians had little trust on their agencies: The Military 49%, the Electoral Commission 42%; the Office of the Public Defender 40%, and the Office of the Presidency 39%.

The topic was analyzed during the Forum ‘Transparency, let’s talk about it’, carried out at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Virginia Gutiérrez Auditorium, with the purpose of discussing the challenges of the Colombian public service, including public university transparency.

Autonomy and ethics are some of the elements that UNal should focus its efforts as the first public education institution of Colombia. “The more autonomy Academia has, greater the accountability and communicate to the community its decisions and the way it handles its economy,” said UNal General Deputy Rector Professor Jorge Iván Bula.

“The institution should question itself and move towards ethics that answer to what needs to be researched, and open up to society, not only through extension programs. Above all it needs to reflect on pertinent to our current society undergraduate programs which have been limited for 15 years, while graduate programs have increased,” said UNal former Rector Víctor Manuel Moncayo.

According to Segura, despite the anticorruption law, the reason it has not had a bearing on the negative perception is that the improvement plans that Law 1474 envisaged were not been consciously made by part of the institutions.

“They fulfilled the obligation to prepare a document, hence it was not created taking into account the needs of the citizens or attacking the institutional weaknesses. Additionally if the entities only perform their duty so as to only fulfill a regulation, real challenges are not identified and mitigation actions or strategies do not respond to the real needs of the citizens and corruption will continue,” he added.

Finally Colombian Supreme Court of Justice Delegate Prosecutor Flor Alba Torres insisted that nothing will change if the basics, starting from family values and social norms are not imprinted into our children.

Agencia Noticias UNAL |

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