Introductory Note to the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan
The General Secretariat against Corruption (GSAC) was established according to Article 6 of Law 4320/2015 (Government Gazette A 29/19-3-2015) and has been placed under the authority of the Deputy Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, in response to the increasing concern for integrity issues as well for the fight against corruption. Furthermore, GSAC is defined as the authority responsible for coordinating the fight against fraud (AFCOS) of national and European Union budget in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 3 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No. 883/2013 of the European Parliament. In addition, the Inspectors-Controllers Body for Public Administration (ΣΕΕΔΔ) and the Inspectors Body for Public Works (ΣΕΔΕ) have been transferred under the auspices of the GSAC.
According to the above, the General Secretariat against Corruption (GSAC) aims to prevent and combat corruption efficiently and effectively, by ensuring the coherence of the National Anti-corruption Strategy and by adopting International and European best practices.
In March 2013, Greece adopted its first National Strategy against Corruption called: “Transparency – A National Anti-Corruption Action Plan”. The first National Strategic Plan against Corruption was updated and revised by GSAC in August 2015. It included numerous (112) actions linked to forty seven (47) objectives connected to eleven (11) pillars, i.e. sectors of interventions.
GSAC has now constructed a forceful revision of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), which will be in force from July 2018 to mid-2021. Furthermore, in order to ensure transparency and illustrate continuity, the revised NACAP will be accompanied by references to the objectives and actions of the previous one, which will also be accessible to the public.
The main aim of the new NACAP is to contribute in a progressive and consistent way to the reduction of corruption, the strengthening of integrity, the increase of the citizen’s trust in public institutions and the promotion of the zero tolerance mindset to corruption. In addition, it depicts the deep knowledge and experience gained during the last 3 years of GSAC’s effective operation, and it makes excellent use of the received international technical assistance.
More specifically, new NACAP is a) focused to be specific and detailed, b) designed in a way that ensures the inter-institutional coordination, by engaging all stakeholders of public and private sector as well as civil society, in the implementation of relevant multilevel actions.
In addition, the revised NACAP is envisaged to help the governance structures to change their institutional anti-corruption culture and attitude towards a more result-oriented approach to promote the pro-active engagement of public institutions, independent bodies, civil society and international community.
In these terms, the objective of the revised NACAP is to promote transparency, integrity, good governance and to strengthen institutions in the fight against corruption.
GSAC, in order to achieve the above mentioned objectives, structures the new NACAP in four parts:
PART 1: SECTORAL PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION
The new NACAP faces corruption as a multi sectoral phenomenon and applies an interdisciplinary methodology for its repression and prevention.
The first group of specific strategy objectives (1.1-7.2) aims to reduce corruption risks in specific sectors of public administration such as health, tax and customs, public finances, public procurements, defense, sports and environment, by the establishment, implementation and monitoring of specific anti-corruption strategies and plans.
In addition to specific sectoral strategies, the new NACAP focuses on the strengthening of the asset recovery mechanism through a series of actions that follow the international best practices and standards.
The second group of objectives (8.1-8.4) aims to reduce corruption risks in the private sector, by promoting the development of Anti- Corruption Public Private Partnerships (ACPPP), strengthening the institutional framework concerning the liability of legal persons on acts of corruption, rationalizing and simplifying of procedures for public and private investment programs and analyzing the constraints related to corruption as well as to illegal practices that undermine growth, competition, investments, productivity and trust.
The third group of strategy objectives (9.1-9.6) aims to reduce corruption risks in the political sphere as another crucial priority of the revised NACAP. By these objectives GSAC focuses on the more efficient monitoring of the declaration of assets and the code of conduct for the members of the Parliament. In parallel, it suggests specific actions for the development of an institutional framework concerning lobbying and conflict of interest, and the proposals for the revision of the Constitution, regarding the accountability of the members of the Government.
The last group in the first part of new NACAP aims to reduce corruption risks in local government by strengthening the audits of Local Government related to corruption and establishing Internal Audit Units in Regional and Municipal Authorities.
PART 2: PUBLIC INTEGRITY ACROSS ADMINISTRATION AND JUDICIARY SYSTEM
By the specific objectives (11.1-12.2), the revised NACAP highlights as priority the reinforcement of the public integrity across administration and judiciary system. There are many elements that compose a strong framework within which public officials can safely work and act with integrity. The establishment of an integrated National Public Integrity System and of an effective mechanism for whistleblower’s protection will secure the advance of the integrity in the public sector and increase the public trust.
Furthermore, by enhancing the integrity and efficiency of the judiciary system, by setting standards of professional conduct, integrity and accountability and other reforms for judges and prosecutors, the new NACAP revives a neglected goal of previous plan for the strengthening the function of the judiciary system.
PART 3: STRENGTHENING COOPERATION, COORDINATION AND COLLABORATION ACROSS THE PUBLIC SECTOR
Anti-Corruption strategies are often accentuated by insufficient coordination and information sharing between institutions. For this purpose, by specific objectives (13.1-13.14), new NACAP aspires to reinforce the current structures and the effectiveness of their important work, by strengthening the institutional framework of inspection, investigation and prosecution regarding combating corruption and financial crimes.
PART 4: EDUCATION AND RAISING AWARENESS
Strengthening the voice of citizens and educating young people to have a clear estimation that corruption is not something to be accepted, are vital elements of building a more robust sense of integrity across the nation. In order both citizens and youth to engage in anti-corruption initiatives, they need to feel included as stakeholders in any policy development and implementation of anti-corruption strategies. The revised NACAP applies a series of actions in communication and young’s people awareness through the primary, secondary and high educational system. The underpinning work, such as to incorporate the relevant subjects into the school curriculum has been planned – and will be actively developed.
5. Next steps - Specifics not generalities
This anticorruption plan is explicit, in the form of specific commitments translated into certain actions. The progress on the implementation of the National Anti corruption Action Plan will be published every six months through GSAC’s website. The first progress report will be produced in December 2018.