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Forum on Preventing Corruption and Collusion in Public Procurement: Latin America and the Caribbean

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Panama City, 10 September, 2013 - More than 150 high-level representatives from government agencies in 25 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean , have come together to participate in this anti-corruption forum, which aims to support state officials in their efforts to prevent corruption , collusion and fraud in the  procurement processes .

According to the International Governance and Risk Institute (GovRisk), public procurement is the area of government activity most vulnerable to corruption and fraud. During the next four days, experts will gather to share best practices and techniques for the prevention, detection and investigation of corrupt and illegal activities in public procurement. The conference will feature exhibitors and officials with extensive international experience, including: Dr. Jorge Claro, former Head of Acquisitions of the Inter-American Development Bank; Mr. Colin Ehren, criminal intelligence consultant in the UK and former member of the Metropolitan Police; Mr. Steve Schooner, professor of Procurement Law at George Washington University; and Dr. Michael Kramer, anticorruption consultant for the World Bank , Asian Development Bank and other multilateral institutions .

The forum will showcase examples of innovative strategies led by the countries of the region to combat corruption and collusion. For example, Dr. Luis Fernando Andrade, National Infrastructure Colombia, will share the experiences in implementing a reporting mechanism for high-level applications bribe, a pilot project of the OECD. Other officials will present the latest techniques and challenges in the fight against corruption and collusion in Public Contracting in Chile, Mexico and Panama, amongst others.

The forum is a joint initiative of the British Embassy in Panama; GovRisk; the Authority for Consumer Protection and Competition of the Panamanian Government (ACODECO), the Public Procurement Directorate (PanamaCompra) and the Regional Anti-Corruption Academy for Central and the Caribbean (ARAC), established in Panama City by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the National Authority for Transparency and Access to Information of the Panamanian Government (ANTAI).

The forum comes as a tool for public education on corruption, which could affect procurement systems in the countries of the region. According to Mrs. Melissa Flynn, Academic Coordinator of the Academy, "legislation that mandates well regulated and fully transparent procurement processes has proven to generate greater competition and serve as a tool in preventing and combating corruption. Public expenditures on goods and services purchased, represent a high percentage of the Gross Domestic Product in different countries of Latin America and procurement systems should therefore promote transparency, integrity and accountability. They must be competitive, as fierce competition reduces the risk of collusion and corruption hinders hide."

The Forum is funded as part of the Prosperity Fund of the Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, a programme that seeks to increase exports and investment, open markets, ensure access to resources and promote sustainable global growth. According to Mr. Matthew Phillips, Charge d'Affaires of the United Kingdom Embassy, "transparency in public procurement is vital because it prevents corruption and prevents the diversion of resources where they are needed. Britain believes that bringing together State providers, procurement officials and the private sector to discuss the challenges they face in this area will be a key step toward reducing corruption and sustainable growth."