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Chile - Corruption

Corruption in Chile is generally limited although a number of cases have occurred in recent years. The GOC responded with vigor in 2003 to a succession of public and financial sector scandals related to corruption and influence peddling in the government's domestic development agency (CORFO), the Ministry of Public Works (MOP), and the Central Bank. Since 2003, Chile has had laws in place that established a more efficient and professional civil service through performance-based incentives and a reduction in political appointee positions in public service positions. Similiarly, in 2005, the GOC passed a law to regulate political party and candidate financing to further deter corrupt government practices.

On 09 December 2011, Judge Antonella Sciaraffia of Iquique was suspended temporarily on charges of illicit association, falsification of numerous public instruments, and fraud. The charges came amid additional allegations of fraud in contract awards for schools in Arica and Iquique for which Sciaraffia was responsible. The case was pending at year’s end.

On 17 December 2011, former congressional deputy Maximiano Errazuriz was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to three years and a day in prison for his role in falsely renting an office and receiving an income of approximately 30,000,000 pesos ($62,000) between 2004 and 2009. Errazuriz was ordered to pay a fine equal to 10 percent of the funds and prohibited from holding elected office again.

In January 2010 a judge convicted Andres Contardo, a former consultant for both the Civil Registry and Tata Consultancy Services, of disclosing secret civil registry information to Tata. Contardo was sentenced to more than four years in prison but was released on parole. Thirty-seven others were indicted in connection with the case, some of whom were convicted, some of whom were given community service hours in return for their cooperation and the return of funds, and some of whom were awaiting trial at year’s end.

The law subjects public officials to financial disclosure and assigns responsibility to the comptroller for conducting audits of government agencies and to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for initiating criminal investigations of official corruption.

The constitution requires the government and its agencies to make all unclassified information about their activities available to the public. In practice the government granted citizens and noncitizens, including foreign media, access to all unclassified information. An autonomous transparency council provides for the right of access to information and ruled on cases in which information is denied. On September 13, the government launched a new Web site that provides online access to public information.

Chile has signed and ratified the Organization of American States (OAS) Convention against Corruption. Chile is also a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery, fulfilling the necessary accession processes, including implementation of its Anti-Bribery Convention obligations. In 2007, a new law came into force that provides protection for public employees who denounce irregularities or violations in accountability standards and at the same time, Chile ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

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Page last modified: 22-11-2012 18:36:46 ZULU