Peru has created another commission aimed at rooting out government corruption, but previous lackluster efforts in this field suggest a repetitive pattern and inspire little optimism for this latest endeavor.
On October 17, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski announced the creation of the Presidential Integrity Commission (Comisión Presidencial de Integridad), one of five anti-corruption measures Kuczynski said his administration would move to implement, reported RPP.
On October 24, the commission officially came into being, and consists of seven prominent figures with a variety of professional backgrounds. Eduardo Vega Luna, Peru’s former ombudsman, heads the commission.
Kuczynski’s creation of the commission was spurred by a corruption scandal involving Carlos Moreno, a former presidential advisor on healthcare. An audio recording of Moreno recently surfaced suggesting malfeasance in the allocation of benefits via Peru’s Ministry of Health to a private medical clinic. The revelation prompted Kuczynski to promise an “exhaustive” review of top government officials.
The commission now enters a 45-day period to collect information on areas most in need of anti-corruption reforms and formulate appropriate policy proposals. Kuczynski assured the commission is “independent” and that neither the executive nor legislative branches would meddle in its affairs. He added that officials would seek to tackle corruption within both the private and public sector.
Fernando Zavala, the president of Peru’s Council of Ministers, said the new commission will “take concrete actions against corruption,” and will put “integrity and transparency” above all else in its work.
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High-level corruption in Peru is a perennial problem, and was a key topic during the recent presidential race. Indeed, in 2014, over 90 percent of mayors in Peru were under investigation by Peru’s Anti-Corruption Attorney General’s Office, exemplifying the scale of an issue that has led to widespread public disenchantment with the political class. As such, Kuczynski, who assumed office in July, seems determined to disassociate himself from past and current politicians linked to corrupt behavior, and to appear that he is proactively confronting the problem.
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Nonetheless, Kuczynski’s Presidential Integrity Commission is not the first commission created in Peru tasked with weeding out corruption. For instance, the High-Level Anti-Corruption Commission (Comisión de Alto Nivel Anticorrupción – CAN) was created in 2010 to “articulate efforts, coordinate actions, and propose medium- to long-range policies directed at preventing and combating corruption.”
Yet if the CAN were being effective, it would appear redundant to create a new anti-corruption commission. However, Eduardo Vega, who leads the new commission, said their work would not replace but “reinforce” the CAN. Regardless, simply creating a new entity to help “reinforce” one that is currently falling short in its task of rooting out endemic corruption — and which is perhaps itself in need of reform — is unlikely to lead to substantive and enduring improvements.