Honduras sets up anti-corruption commission

22 Jan 16

Transparency International has today welcomed the launch of a new anti-corruption body in Honduras, which will tackle criminals within the nation’s political, judicial and security systems.

The Latin American country has one of the highest levels of corruption and violence within the region. The new agency was established by Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández on Tuesday, following waves of anti-corruption protests.

Dubbed the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity (MACCIH), and backed by the Organization of American States (a regional group mostly financed by America) the international mission has a mandate to independently investigate and prosecute politicians, judges and members of the security forces.

“The launch of MACCIH is an important step for Honduras, a country where numerous high-level corruption scandals in recent years have ended with impunity for the corrupt,” said José Ugaz, Transparency International’s chair.

“The new commission must be allowed to work independently, without political interference, and given power to choose which cases it investigates. It has the potential to help create a better and fairer society for all Hondurans if it can act freely.”

Organised crime groups have been easily able to infiltrate Honduras’s weak institutions, and last summer president Hernández was forced to admit that his 2013 election campaign had benefited from about $300m in funds misappropriated from the country’s social security institute, with a significant impact on the country’s health service.

“The ultimate goal should be efficient, transparent and accountable Honduran institutions that have the trust of the people. We hope that through MACCIH’s intervention the Public Ministry and other bodies investigating corruption will be strengthened to end impunity and create justice,” said Ugaz.

MICCIH is modelled on neighbouring Guatemala’s International Commission against Impunity, established in 2007 and backed by the United Nations. It has revealed a number of high-profile scandals including one that led to arrest of the country’s former president Otto Pérez Molina in September last year.

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