AMAN Coalition Launches the Shadow Report on the Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption
The Implementation Review of the State of Palestine of Chapters II (Preventive Measures) and Chapter V (Asset Recovery) of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)
Ramallah- The Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN) issued the parallel report to the official report of the State of Palestine, which was allocated to examining the extent of commitment of the State in its implementation of the obligations stated under the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). This report reveals the extent to which the State of Palestine has complied in its implementation of the obligations set forth in Chapter II (Preventive Measures) and chapter V (Asset Recovery) of the Convention along with observations concerning implementation gaps on the ground (i.e., in practice).
Failure to involve civil society in discussion of reform decisions and plans
The most prominent findings of the report were that the executive authority "the presidency and the government" continued to issue decisions and reform plans in various fields without involving citizen representatives or civil society organizations (CSO); there was weak commitment of all parties involved in the implementation of the strategic plan to combat corruption. This was due to the Council of Ministers’ failure to consider the strategy as one of the cross-sectoral strategies, but rather as a file that is the sole responsibility of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
Occupying political and decision-making positions in the management of public affairs without adhering to the principle of equal opportunity and efficiency
Both governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WB&GS) continued to reinforce their stay in power of all high political positions of the State institutions and other institutions that manage public affairs and funds by appointing loyalists to the ruling parties, hence ensuring control over decisions in civil, security, financial, judicial and legislative affairs.
Activating the system of granting bonuses at the level of ministerial and non-ministerial public institutions remains limited
The bonus granting system for civil servants No. (21) of 2022, which determined the controls and principles for granting job bonuses and also required that the head of each department form a committee to study the outstanding work of those employees who deserve job rewards, was issued. However, its application at the level of ministerial and non-ministerial public institutions remains limited.
Compliance by political authority officials with the provisions of conflict of interest disclosure regulations remains limited, in addition to excluding key political officials from the system
The report pointed out that the Palestinian Council of Ministers issued the Conflict of Interest Prevention System No. (1) of 2020 on 27/1/2020, which specified the categories subject to its provisions and the obligations they are required to fulfill. The system also required the formation of a committee in each institution to review and study disclosures contained in the submitted forms. In practice, however, the political authority officials’ compliance with the provisions of the abovementioned disclosure regulations remains limited, not to mention the exclusion of key high-ranking positions of authority, such as the president, the prime minister, governors and ambassadors from the system.
In reality... there is no record showing the disciplinary measures taken against violators of the rules specified in codes of conducts
In line with the provisions of the UNCAC, several codes of conduct have been issued in Palestine, as follows: Code of Conduct for Public Sector Employees; Code of Judicial Conduct; Codes of Conduct for the Security Services Employees; Code of Conduct for Employees of the State Audit and Administrative Control Bureau (SAACB); Code of Conduct for the ACC Employees; the Corporate Governance Code, and recently, a code of conduct for employees of local authorities was issued. However, there is practically no record showing the disciplinary measures taken against violators of codes’ rules.
The government has not fully completed integrating all of the "government responsibility centers and local government units" into the unified public procurement portal
The report also revealed that despite the development of the public procurement system, the government has not completed the integration of all "government responsibility centers and local government units (LGU)" into the unified public procurement portal. Furthermore, the e-procurement strategy, which is intended to enhance the transparency and integrity of public procurement processes for government institutions and LGUs, has not been completed. On the other hand, it can be said that there has been a slight improvement in the publication of public institutions' reports despite their weak content of reporting mainly on achievements without linking them to activities stated in their action plans.
Failure to issue the Access to Information Law, and failure to publish agreements related to granting concessions
The report showed that the government continues to be adamant Not to pass the Access to Information Law, nor to publish agreements related to granting concessions.
Harmonization of Palestinian legislation with the requirements of the Convention remains incomplete
The harmonization of Palestinian legislation, in particular the Anti-Corruption Law No. 1 of 2005, with the requirements of the UNCAC, especially with regard to criminalizing corruption in the private sector, is incomplete and imbalanced with the harmonization achieved in terms of criminalizing acts of corruption in the public sector. For example, bribery is not criminalized in the private sector. In addition, criminalization of embezzlement of property, through abuse of credit contained in the Penal Code, is inconsistent with the considerations and strictness sought by the Convention in prosecuting corruption offences.
Moreover, the absence of a number of legislations such as: The Law on Promoting Competition and Preventing Monopoly; the Law on the Granting of Public Concessions, and the Law on Debt Settlement, all represent a legislative vacuum and hence affecting negatively the environment of integrity, transparency and accountability in the private sector’s work.
The absence of a general regulating law that defines the principles and rules for granting concessions in the management and operation of vital service facilities has weakened the supervisory role over these bodies
Franchising private sector companies in Palestine is still carried out without a comprehensive legal framework. This is due to the absence of a general law regulating the principles and rules for granting concessions in the management and operation of vital service facilities, which was privatized for the management or operation. The absence of the Law on Granting Concessions and Preventing Monopolies has weakened the supervisory role of the regulating bodies in general. Moreover, the government is not operating under an approved and published policy that can be invoked to privatize services, hence weakening the regulatory bodies in monitoring providers of these services as mentioned, and at times hinders the implementation of service provision. In addition, the boards of directors of many public shareholding companies that manage public utilities still do not adopt a binding system for disclosing conflicts of interest to their members.
Continuous attempts to restrict civil society organizations
In 2022, in the West Bank, there were continuous attempts to restrict the work space of CSOs such as issuing the regulation of the non-profit organizations sector, legal arrangements and the licensing system for media institutions.
In line with the provisions of the UNCAC, the Law-by-Decision on combating money laundering and terrorist financing was issued
In the area of anti-money laundering, Law by Decision No. (39) of 2022 on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism was issued, whose provisions in many respects are in line with the UNCAC including a set of necessary provisions to combat money laundering. Similarly, the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) also issued several instructions and circulars aimed at combating money laundering operations, such as: a procedural guide for banks and money-exchange centers on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing; Instructions No. (9) of 2022 regarding the issuance and reception of money transfers; Instructions No. (18) of 2021 concerning the function of combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
Obstacles facing the State of Palestine in concluding bilateral agreements and becoming signatory to international conventions in the area of international judicial cooperation
It is safe to say that the State of Palestine continues to face many obstacles in the legislative and executive areas, especially in concluding bilateral agreements and becoming signatory to international conventions in regard to international judicial cooperation. This is true in terms of assets recovery derived from commissions of crimes, and or the execution of sentences or extradition of criminals.
To strengthen anti-corruption preventive tools, the State of Palestine has become a signatory of several UN treaties and a number of international and Arab memorandums of understanding (MoU)
It is noteworthy that the State of Palestine has become a signatory of the UNCAC in 2014; the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) in 2015; United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in 2018; International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) on Sept. 27, 2017, which opened the way for Palestine to pursue some individuals attempting to escape justice. Moreover, the State of Palestine is committed to arresting and holding accountable any Palestinian who escapes justice and is accused of a crime committed in another Interpol member state. In addition, the ACC continued to sign MOUs at the international and Arab levels with the aim of exchanging experiences and strengthening preventive anti-corruption tools.
To download the report: