La Paz. Last week the Bolivian senate passed a „law for the fight against corruption, illegal enrichment and scrutiny of wealth”. The law could be passed without regard for the opposition since the governing party “Movement Toward Socialism” won a comfortable two-thirds majority in the election in December 2009. According to president Evo Morales this should “create justice, not revenge”.
This makes it possible for the first time ever to criminally prosecute holders of public office who have enriched themselves illegally through public goods. Those who boast of sudden wealth must declare the origin of their wealth if the authorities are suspicious. Sanctions range from the possible expropriation of private property to prison sentences of up to 14 years.
Posthumously he ensures law and order: Socialist Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz
The anti-corruption law was named after the founder of the “Socialist Party“ (PS), Marcelo Quiroga Santa Cruz. The prominent politician, writer and intellectual was murdered during the military dictatorship in 1980. Vice president Álvaro García Linera explained that “this is about a forceful, very strong and drastic law”. He went on to say that this is the only way to ensure “a long needed change in the behaviour and the mentality of people.
The new law with its 38 sections does not fall under the statute of limitations and is thus a fierce weapon; it is valid retrospectively and only in exceptional cases a statute of limitation applies. It does not take into consideration any immunity or special status of secretaries of state, parliamentarians, civil servants and functionaries.
Having above all tried to prevent the lack of a statute of limitations during the debate in the senate, the opposition warned that a “witch hunt” was about to begin. The law was a “pretext to take over control in all state institutions” according to Germán Antelo, chairman of the right wing party “National Concertation” (Concertación Nacional, CN). The protest does not come as a surprise. The old elites fear for the land titles and the sinecure from state property that they were allocated mainly during military dictatorships in exchange for loyalty. The conservative parties managed time and again to prevent the law since its first draft in 1996. Even the election victory of the MAS in 2005 was not enough to adopt the law. In 2006 the first hurdle was taken when the MAS waved it through the chamber of deputies. But it was the new proportion of votes after the elections in December 2009 that paved the way.
Source: amerika21.de-Scharfes Gesetz gegen Korruption in Bolivien
Original article published on March 7, 2010
About the author
Susanne Schuster is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, translator and reviser are cited.
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