Combating the phenomena of interweaving interests and corruption and the promotion of transparency
(Programmatic Congress – February 2014)
Since the mid-90’s, as a Party we have been ascertaining an increase in the phenomena of decay and corruption in Cypriot society; phenomena which far from being decisively tackled so as to stamp them out, have with the synergy or tolerance of various factors been perpetuated and multiplied.
In a socio – economic system, which idealizes easy profit and wealth, phenomena such as the “diaploki” (Note: the interweaving, interplay and interlocking relationships of politics, government with economic interests) of state and business interests and subsequent corruption of state officials and public servants, are everyday occurrences. On the opposite pole is transparency. The embedding of conditions of transparency and accountability, as well as the awareness that corruption will be exposed to the community as a whole, can operate as a deterrent.
Objectively, the economic crisis has led to such phenomena being brought out into the open. The need to increase mechanisms for control and prevention, as well as those for stamping out and punishing such phenomena is now a social need. Without adopting the logic promoting the targeting and levelling, either of the political world or the public service or anyone in a post of power, we believe that for interweaving interests and corruption to find fertile ground – objectively – presupposes the participation of both the private and public sector. For sure, “diaploki” exists on a more general level too and affects a section of the mass media, the church and other organizations. The state and society need to deal with this issue in a serious way.
In the past, but also more recently, we had dealt extensively with ways to tackle phenomena of “diaploki” and corruption in Cypriot society, by submitting proposals, some of which took the form of tabling Bills. In 2010 we had also organized a series of actions aimed at elaborating our positions and enhancing the institutional framework to address these negative phenomena. Numerous positions of ours are also reflected in the establishment of independent bodies and officials, whose role is, among other, the tackling of corruption too.
For the Cypriot Left, a society which tolerates such phenomena or even worse reproduces them is not a healthy one. With regards the Party itself and especially its militants, the long-standing and constant demand for honesty and our need to guide society through the strength of our own example, is more than imperative.
Of course our role is not limited to the analysis of social phenomena. Through our daily work and activity we should propose solutions. Without having any illusions that phenomena inherent in capitalism can be eradicated in the given socio – economic conditions.
The radical combating of phenomena of interweaving interests and corruption means changing mentalities and a different and more advanced social consciousness. We must continue to educate the whole Party and society at large in this direction.
Building on our core findings, but also actions that are already set in motion, our proposals, inter alia, include practical and institutional measures, which concern:
(a) The Party and the wider Peoples Movement of the Left, and
(b) The society at large and its institutions.
Proposals for the Party and the broader Peoples Movement
1. We have already decided and proceeded to the voluntary publication of the asset and funds-source declaration of the members of the Political Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL, the members of the Parliamentary Group of AKEL-Left-New Forces, as well as of former government officials who were members of the Party.
2. At the same time, as of this year we are proceeding to the publication of annual audited accounts of the C.C. of AKEL and posting them for a specific time period on the official website of the Party, in addition to their examination at the regular Party Congresses by Party members, which has been the case for decades.
3. Although there is a general acceptance that the Law on Political Parties needs to be improved, whose content we have elaborated specific proposals on, its faithful implementation by the Party should be viewed as given.
Institutional proposals to society
4. Institutional regulation for limiting terms in various state and other posts and interchangeability in all Public Service positions without exception.
5. Expanding the list of the persons subject to control for the purposes of submitting a statement with regards the submission of an asset and funds-source declaration which shall include, inter alia, the three powers (executive, legislative and judicial), all the public and government officials from one position / scale upwards, all the independent officials and regulators, commissioners, chairpersons and members of the administrative boards of public utility organizations, local government authorities and others. In general, for the asset and funds-source declaration to be effective, it must involve all those who are handling public money and are exercising civil authority or by virtue of their position take important decisions affecting public finances or public administration.
6. Modernization of the legislative framework governing tenders and the purchase of military equipment programs aiming to eradicate corruption and interweaving interests, always having in mind the aspect of national security and confidentiality which governs the sector of defence.
7. Possibility to exercise public control of all the tenders awarded to the public and semi-public sector regardless of the amount.
8. Regulation of the economic activities of Non -Governmental Organizations, including funding, so as to be governed by a legislative framework that we will promote.
9. Modernization of the electoral laws will include lengthening the period of control of election expenses.
10. Publication of audited accounts of the mass media, print and electronic media, with the simultaneous informing of the public about the beneficial owners, including subsidiaries and associated companies.
11. Mandatory confiscation of property of former state officials and public servants from the scale A13 and above are convicted for economic crimes or offenses of tax evasion.
12. Legislative regulation for stiffer penalties so that the consequences of any commitment of offenses against the state will act as a deterrent to commit them.
Without doubt, the combating of the phenomena of interweaving interests collusion and corruption is a cause for everyone. As a Party, we will continue to undertake initiatives in various directions to raise society’s awareness cultivate a culture of rejection of such conduct and of course struggle for the strict enforcement of the existing laws.
Transparency deepens and enhances democracy. The stamping out of corruption contributes towards restoring people’s confidence in institutions, which is essential, especially in a semi-occupied homeland.
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