New law requires public officials to file declarations of assets in Paraguay

Asunción, 24 January 2014 - Under a new law, employees and service providers of the Paraguayan government are now required to submit a sworn statement of assets and income in order to take up public office. This new regulation works as a tool of control and transparency to curb illicit enrichment and combat corruption in public administration. Law 5.033/13 came into force on 8 January.

In order to explain the scope of this new provision, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized in mid-January the "Workshop of articulation and socialization of the regulation of public officials' sworn statement of assets and income", at the United Nations office in Asunción.

The meeting was attended by the Comptroller General, Oscar Rubén Velázquez, who along with Comptroller technicians gave a brief overview of the law that regulates Article 104 of the Constitution, which provides for the obligation of public officials to submit the sworn declaration of assets and income.

The Comptroller General's Office is responsible for implementing the new law and, accordingly, has the power to establish mechanisms to receive, analyze, organize and archive documentation, as well as conducting investigations, both within and outside Paraguay, to determine the veracity of the statements.

The failure to submit the statement imposes sanctions on officials, ranging from a fine of 300 minimum wages to various unspecified activities, such as dismissal (as applicable) or disqualification to hold public office, to be appointed or hired and to be elected in popular elections for a period of 10 years.

Another important advance in legal matters in Paraguay is the requirement to hold opposition contests to fill vacancies in public institutions, in order to ensure equal opportunities and, at the same time, foster the improvement of public services that have positive impacts on citizenship.

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