Monitoring the anti-corruption policies in central public authorities:
- Declaration of assets and personal interests
- Ethics and meritocracy
On 11 June 2020, Transparency International – Moldova presented the results of monitoring two anti-corruption policies: Declaration of Assets and Interests, as well as Ethics and Meritocracy. The monitoring is part of a project supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, with the aim of analysing how central public authorities (CPAs) apply the anti-corruption policies set out in the UN Convention against Corruption, identify eventual problems and come with recommendations to improve the quality of the public policies. The subjects of monitoring are 12 CPAs, including 4 subordinate entities at high risk of corruption. The monitoring was carried out in April-May 2020, the reference period is 2018-2019.
Methodological aspects. The monitoring process included the analisys of the information provided by the monitored CPA, the data on their web pages and the government portals, data from the activity reports of the National Integrity Authority (ANI), the National Anti-Corruption Centre (NAC), the State Chancellery, studies of NGOs and articles of investigative journalists. The information was analysed from the perspective of the conformity to the relevant normative acts, confrontation of data from different sources. Following the analysis carried out, summary tables reflecting the current state of the policy were filled. The tables include individual findings and proposals to improve the situation, allow comparing the situation in different authorities and offer the possibility to undertake the good practices. Depending on the findings, the authorities were assigned scores on a scale from 0 to 4, rankings were compiled on each separate policy.
The findings and brief recommendations in the profile of the policies monitored are set out below.
Declaration of assets and interests
The results of monitoring attest that the authorities have made efforts to ensure the implementation of the policy, however, public servants often encounter difficulties while filling and submitting declarations of assets and personal interests (DAPI), training activities are insufficient, some authorities do not have internal procedures for declaring the assets and interests and do not publish information about the results of the implementation of this policy.
NIA, which promotes policy at the state level, has focused, in particular, on the verification of the filing within the time limit and compliance with the formal requirements of the DAPI, efforts to verify assets and interests, including the identification of unjustified assets, remain timid and below the expectations of society. Although NIA has expanded the training process, online schooling is virtually unused. Some problems are caused by imperfections in the legal framework, failures of the e-Integrity SIA and reduced control capabilities of NIA.
Existence of the person/persons in charge for keeping records of the subjects of the declaration. All entities have designated the persons in charge for the management of the Electronic Register of Reporting Subjects, they activate in the human resources sections, as required by the law. ANI has not detected any deviations in the activity of these persons.
Existence of internal procedures for declaring property and personal interests. Most entities noted that they lead in the application of the Law on the Declaration of Personal Assets and Interests 133/2016, including SFS, MAEIE, MECC, MF, MJ, MSMPS also referred to the use of internal procedures. MAI, SV did not provide information.
Training employees on integrity-related topics/declaration of personal wealth and interests. The monitored entities provided general training data, with only some specifying the number of trainees on topics such as declaration of assets and personal interests. In several authorities, the participation in trainings was very low. The results of the survey of the servants from CPAs conducted by TI-Moldova show that although about 60% of respondents claim to have participated in such trainings, their level of knowledge remains low.
Eventual problems while completing and submitung the declarations. About 2/3 of the monitored CPAs reported on difficulties while completing and submitting the DAIP reported by the employees (MAEIE, MEI, MF, MJ, MSMPS, SFS, PF, APP), some of the authorities addressed the NIA to remedy them. MADRM and SV reported that no such problems had been identified and MAI and MECC did not provide responses to this question. The existence of such problems also reflected in the TI-Moldova survey: on average, 1/3 of the respondents reported having problems, particularly technical problems in the functioning of the e-Integrity SIA.
Singular deviations identified by integrity inspectors and sanctions. According to the NIA, following the examination of the DAPI submitted by public servants, in 2018 no deviations were identified in the declarations of assets and interests, in 2019 – 2 cases were identified in the MAI and one subordinate entity. In 2019, infringement fines amounting to 11,250 MDL were imposed in 4 institutions under the MAI.
It should be noted that during the reference period integrity inspectors examined about 4% of the DAPI submitted to NIA. Inspectors focused, in particular, on verifying the timely submittion and compliance with the formal requirements of the DAPI, the identification of substantial differences between the income received and the acquired properties not being at the center of their activity. At the same time, investigative journalists reported on the luxurious way of life, the stately wealth, the donations received by public officials, including some ministers, secretaries of state, monitored APC officials. NIA’s efforts to verify the assets and interests of public persons, including the identification of unwarranted assets, remain timid and below the expectations of society.
Although the NIA announces that it is making “e-Integrity” available to citizens, facilitating access to information of public interest, in recent years the media and NGOs have access only to scanned declarations, access to the database of digitised declarations was not provided, including due to malfunctions in this system.
Transparency of information on policy implementations. Only some of the CPAs published on their web pages full information about the application of the policy (MAI, MF, MJ, MEI) or summary information (MECC, MSMPS), the others did not publish any data on this regard (APP, MADRM, MAEIE).
For the monitored public authorities:
- Continue the training of public servants on the DAPI; Where needed, apply the training of trainees technique, intensify the on-line trainings;
- Take the attitude top wards the recommendations of public servants expressed in the TI-Moldova’s survey of public servants;
- Develop internal procedures for policy implementation, taking into account the positive practices of other CPA (see the summary tables);
- Focus on monitoring the lifestyle of employees in MAI and SV
- Publish the results of the application of the policy of declaring personal assets and interests on the website.
For the National Integrity Authority:
- Focus the efforts on verifying the declarations of assets and interests of highly ranked public officials, persons with public dignity positions, to identify eventual cases of undeclared or financially ungrounded wealth.
- Ensure that complaints about possible problems are recorded when filling out/filing DAPI , including the functioning of the e-Integrity SIA, take remedial action and inform about them.
- Provide access to a digitalized DAPIs database with automatic data sorting/sellecting options
- Publish on the website the register of persons who are prohibited from holding public office.
Ethics and meritocracy
The results of the monitoring indicate that the good part of the monitored entities implements the policy. The highest score was accumulated by SFS, the lowest – by the MECC, the average being 2.6 points.
The findings on the main monitored indicators are as follows:
Job openings based on open competition (rules, managers, share of persons employed on merit basis). All monitored entities recruit staff under the conditions of a predetermined legal framework, developed by normative acts subordinate to the laws. Among the noticed problems is the inaccessibility of departmental normative acts – the Rules of Activity of the Evaluation and Competition Commission, approved by order of the MFAEI, no.830-b-100 from 09.09.2014, can only be found when accessing the search engine by www.google.com.
Responsible for the process of organizing and conducting competitions are the competition committees, which have been set up and operate under the existing regulations. It should be noted that only one monitored entity provides the public, via the website, with information on the composition of the Competition Commission – SFS. From the information provided by the monitored entities, the competitions for opened positions do take place in main part of cases. Regrettably, not all entities provided information on the share of persons appointed to positions on the basis of merit (competition or promotion).However, entities that have provided data in the requested format prove that, in most cases, vacant positions are filled on a merit basis (competition or promotion).
Moreover, these data are consistent with the generalised data reported, with reference to the public service, by the State Chancellery. Thus, according to the Report on the civil service and the status of civil servant for 2018 , the main way of filling public office is the competition (62%), which together with the promotion (13%) summarises three quarters of the ways in which public office is occupied. According to the same source, the share of vacant public positions filled on the basis of merit (competition and promotion) during the period 2011-2018, constant is an essential one.
Nebertheless, it should be noticed that quantitative data does not necessarily mean qualitative perspectives on promotion and competition processes (legality, transparency, integrity, etc.). Moreover, by confronting the data provided by the monitored entities with those provided by other authorities with competences in the field, it would appear that certain procedures, even if regulated, are not always respected. Thus, according to the National Integrity Authority Activity Report for 2019, only three of the monitored entities applied for integrity certificates, namely: MF – 7 certificates issued; MSMPS – 3 certificates issued; MADRM – 2 certificates issued.
Accessibility of competition information (career department on the web page).Virtually all the entities monitored have created career compartments on the web pages. Only one entity, the MECC, has limited itself to ensuring, for this purpose, access to the module on the www.cariere.gov.md portal, which contains only the competition announcements. Thus, information relevant to the process of conducting competitions remains unavailable, such as: lists of candidates admitted to the competition; lists of candidates admitted to the interview; lists of candidates who have promoted the competition.
Only 4 of the 12 entities monitored, in terms of the career compartment on the web page, were rated with maximum score (MF, MAI, MADRM, SFS).The other entities have developed separate compartments, but the information delivered is not sufficiently well structured and organized. Thus, the information cannot be filtered, possibly – depending on the stage of the competition, which generates difficulties in the search/perception of data.
Ethics (rules, officials, sanctions). With reference to enforcing ethics in CPAs, all entities are either guided by a predetermined regulatory framework or have developed, where appropriate, specific regulations. As with the regulatory framework on the organisation and conduct of competitions, deficiencies in accessing departmental acts are to be noted. In the case of MFAEI, the regulations are to be found only through the search engine of the www.google.com, and in the case of MEI, MF and SFS, the rules are inaccessible on the web. Only two out of 12 entities (SV and PF) have placed the ethical rules applicable to employees on their web pages.
As regards to sanctioning of violations, the legal framework is a practical, common one, for this purpose, according to the entities, being set up and functioning disciplinary committees. And in this compartment, we note the inaccessibility of departmental acts (MAEIE and SV). Seriously, no monitored entity has placed on the website information that would be relevant from the perspective of sanctioning procedures and that would be useful in any referral. This could be one of the causes of the reserved application of mechanisms to sanction violations of ethics and ethics rules. In general, at this indicator, seem more convincing SV and PF.
Training on ethics rules. All monitored CPAs that provided information reported training on ethics rules, but only one entity (SFS) developed online training modules. Despite all those mentioned, the public service still faces problems related to the implementation of the policy, confirmation of this being the results of the TI-Moldova survey on the implementation of anti-corruption policies among civil servants in the monitored entities. Thus, according to the survey, on average, a quarter of respondents mentioned that there were cases of violations of the Code of Conduct in the institution; about 1/3 of the respondents – that people got their public positions thanks to party relations, kinship, friendship; 1/3 – that the procedure for evaluating and promoting staff was not objective and transparent or that the professionalism of the employees was underappreciated, in contrast to the loyalty to the leaders.
- Further consolidate an effective and full implementation of the legal provisions in the field;
- In the process of appointment to positions, always respect the procedures related to requesting and examining the information specified by law from ANI, NAC, SIS;
- Develop and order the career compartments on the web page – classification of information about the competition, possibly according to the stage of the competition;
- Provide access to the general public to comprehensive information on the applicable rules and procedures (particularly info on departmental normative acts), the composition of the competition committees and disciplinary committees;
- Elaborate upload on the web-pages clear instructions on the procedures for the liability of employees of the entity, in particular – how to refer to disciplinary committees;
- Harnessing online training methods, including in the ethics and ethics section.
See the report here: https://www.transparency.md/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Monitorizarea-politicilor_-DAIP_Etica-meritocratia-1.docx
This document was developed by
Transparency International-Moldova within the project “Monitoring
anticorruption policies in central public authorities”, supported by the
National Endowment for Democracy. The conclusions and recommendations presented
belong to the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinion of funder.