Major anti-corruption legislation is taking shape in the federal Chamber of Deputies although many skeptics wonder if the new laws will be workable in a country where graft and deceit is so entrenched in public life.
The reforms are set to change 14 articles of the Constitution and oblige all public servants to make known their income, assets, liabilities and tax returns, as well as any conflicts of interest that may occur in the elaboration of their duties. The initiative will also increase state auditing powers and create an anti-graft prosecutor.
The legislation will mandate the establishment of a new federal agency, the Sistema Nacional Anticorrupcion, in which independent watchdog committees throughout Mexico will receive complaints, enact policy and carry on the fight against corruption at a grass-roots level.
The drafters of the new legislation believe public service in Mexico will improve if bureaucrats are obliged to account for the wealth they have acquired, partly in fear that they may become the target of an investigation.
Mexico ranks in 106th place out of 177 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. An estimated one billion dollars a year in foreign investment is lost to other nations due to the cloud of corruption hanging over Mexico, according to Viridiana Rios, director of Mexico Como Vamos, an independent economic watchdog organization of expert economists.