Past corruption to be investigated

A change of power in the government provides the opportunity to expose corruption practiced by the prior ruling party. In El Salvador, new president Mauricio Funes has formed a commission to investigate corruption under the prior right wing administrations of ARENA. Funes is already making public alleged examples of graft in government agencies. Raúl Gutiérrez at IPS has an article describing Funes' initiative against corruption:
SAN SALVADOR, Jun 23 (IPS) - Serious allegations of corruption involving central figures in the government of right-wing former Salvadoran president Antonio Saca (2004-2009) will be investigated by a commission led by Finance Minister Carlos Cáceres.

Left-wing President Mauricio Funes, who took office on Jun. 1, announced the decision in his first address to the nation, in which he referred to situations encountered by members of his cabinet in several of the ministries they took over.

The presidential commission will be made up of experts and lawyers who will document every case and recommend appropriate measures, said Funes, who won the Mar. 15 elections as the candidate for the formerly insurgent Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), now a political party.

The team of experts will investigate the National Registry Centre (CNR), the ministries of Public Health and Social Assistance, Interior, and the Environment and Natural Resources, as well as the Salvadoran Institute of Social Security (ISSS).

One of the most shocking cases, according to Funes, is at the CNR, the land and property registration institution, where there are alleged to be 29 "ghost employees" on the payroll, drawing salaries every month but never turning up for work.

These irregularities require an immediate, thorough investigation, to identify administrative and criminal responsibilities, said the president, who did not rule out the possible existence of further anomalies. (more )

It's politically expedient to attack the corruption of a prior government. The tough part is making sure that your friends and allies don't engage in the same activities now that they are in power.


El-Visitador said…
Investigation of corruption in the Saca administration is a very good thing. I hope they take this investigation as far as it can be taken, that names are named, and that any corrupt people as might be found end up in jail.

Having said that, isn't it funny one of the targets is MARN, a super-ministry created a decade ago to save the birdies and the pretty flowers in the imagination of the naïve: instead, since it has the awesome and unchecked power to control any Salvadorean project, whether private or public, it has become "the single largest chokepoint to development in the country."

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. MARN is absolutely corrupt. This is why it needs to be disbanded, and pronto.

Those Salvadoreans who think that more bureaucracies will solve their problems will end up with more bureaucrats, more taxes, and the same problems as always. Exhibit one: MARN.

"It's politically expedient to attack the corruption of a prior government. The tough part is making sure that your friends and allies don't engage in the same activities now that they are in power."

Let's remember that the ARENA governments counted on two very important factors:

1) There was never any precedent of similar investigation.

2) Many ARENA leaders never believed that the party would loose the elections and have to turn over power. Therefore, there would never be another government to investigate ARENA's performance.

This investigation will be a precedent for ANY future government.

Also, I highly doubt the FMLN has ARENA's arrogant attitude that it will never lose another election. Not that the FMLN are saints, but they are used to many, many years as the opposition party. The FMLN also has the important experience of having won AND LOST San Salvador.