Friday, October 25, 2013

From Global Anti-Corruption Structures to Anti-Corruption With Chinese and Now Cuban Characteristics; What can China Teach Cuba?

The issue of corruption has become an important element of both state and international legal efforts. The connection between social, religious, economic and political corruption are well known. See, e.g., Larry Catá Backer, Emasculated Men, Effeminate Law in the United States, Zimbabwe and Malaysia. Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, Vol. 17, No. 1, 2005).

Political corruption has also been the object of international management. For example, the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention establishes legally binding standards to criminalize bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions and provides for a host of related measures that make this effective.   (See OECD Country reports on enforcement of the Anti-Bribery Convention). The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (came into force 2005),  focuses on political and economic aspects of corruption in the public sphere; "It calls for preventive measures and the criminalization of the most prevalent forms of corruption in both public and private sectors. And it makes a major breakthrough by requiring Member States to return assets obtained through corruption to the country from which they were stolen." (Kofi Annan, Forward to UNCAC), p. iv).  The UNAC complements another landmark instrument, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which entered into force in 2005.

For all states, structurally enhanced corruption can erode the legitimacy of the governmental system of a state.  In Marxist Leninist states, such structural corruption might also erode the legitimacy of the leadership of the Communist Party within such system's.  This post considers recent efforts to institutionalize systemic structures to monitor and reduce corruption in Cuba on the Chinese model.

Over the last several years I have been considering the issue of corruption generally, 
--Soft Extra Territorialism and American Anti-Corruption Campaigns, Sept. 12, 2006;
--Soft Extra Territorialism and Anti-Corruption Campaigns: On the Perverse Folly of Corrupt States, Sept. 15, 2006);
--Rockwell International v. U.S. ex rel. Stone, The False Claims Act And --Anti-Corruption Campaigns in the U.S., March 28, 2007;
--Ruminations 2: Fecund Corruption Exposed, February 2, 2009;
--Transparency International: 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, Dec. 19, 2011; 
--Transparency International 2013 Global Corruption Barometer: The State of Corruption and the Legitimacy of Public and Private Actors, July 12, 2013).
an particularly in Cuba
--Corruption in Cuba--The Cuban Communist Party Signals Public Recognition and Party Obligation,  July 16, 2011;
--Juan Tamayo on the Quickening Pace of Publicly Confronting Corruption in Cuba, Aug. 15, 2011;
--Conference on Corruption in Cuba, Nov. 15, 2011;

and China
--Perverse Precedent: The Trial of Stern Hu, State Secrets, Closed Trials, and the --External Price of China's Worry About Internal Order, March 21, 2010;
--Sex, Money and Family: On the Cultural Battle Lines of Corruption in the United States and China, April 24, 2010; 
--Communist Party and State Discipline in China: Exploring Shuang gui 双规 and Shuang kai Part I, Aug. 2, 2011;
--Communist Party and State Discipline in China Part II: Brief Introduction to Shuang Kai and Pix Inside Shuang gui Facility, Law at the End of the Day,  Sept. 17, 2011; 
--Communist Party and State Discipline Part III: Chinese Scholars' Views of Shuang gui Inter Party Discipline Syste,Sept. 23, 2011;
--Investigation Regulations for the Discipline Inspection Organs of the Communist Party of China -- An English Translation, Dec. 29, 2012;
--State-Party Constitutionalism in China--WANG Keren on "Reexamining the Bo Xilai Affair under the Investigation Regulations for the Discipline Inspection Organs of the Communist Party of China"
Jan. 18, 2013;
--Keren Wang on "Laojiao (劳教) System, Constitution and the Mass Line of the Chinese Communist Party", March 15, 2013;
--Considering the Central Committee Politburo Meeting Pointing to the November 2013 Central Committee 3rd Plenum, Sept. 9, 2013;
--The Emerging Forms of Chinese Anti-Corruption Institutions, Oct. 10, 2013;

China has been reforming its state and Party institutions to more aggressively combat corruption.  The Cuban state and Party leaders have taken notice.  A number of reports of a recent meeting between Chinese and Cuban officials tied to anti-corruption campaigns suggest that the Cuban stater and Party organs may soon be adopting a more aggressive and institutionally sound approach to the issue of official corruption.  It is to be hoped that these efforts are directed first toward official corruption rather than to be directed to the sort of petty corruption of the masses which merely reflects that of state and Party officials.

A delegation led by Gladys Bejerano, General Comptroller of the Republic of Cuba, is attending the 21st Congress of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), which began today here. This congress, involving 700 delegates from 165 countries, was preceded by the 6th INTOSAI-Donor Steering Committee meeting in Beijing on October 18 and 19, under the organization of the National Audit Office of China. Bejerano, Vice President of the Cuban Council of State, arrived in Beijing on Sunday and has held bilateral meetings since then with Auditor-General Liu Jiayi, and Li Qin, general director of the National Audit Office of China.

The delegation headed by the general comptroller was received yesterday evening by the Supervisory Minister and deputy chief of the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection of the Communist Party of China, Huang Shuxian, who presided over a welcome ceremony for the Cuban leader and her delegation.

Meanwhile, INTOSAI sources told reporters that previous sessions with the donor community had a record of 76 participants. They examined 25 funded or ongoing projects, double the proposals from the 2012 meeting. (Prensa Latina News Agency: Cuba Attends Audit Institutions Congress in China Oct. 22, 2013).
The Supreme Council of Audit Institutions released a "Beijing Declaration" on October 26, though the text of the Declaration itself has not been released.  The reporting of the event in the Party press organ of the Cuban Communist Party emphasized the importance of the anti-corruption element to ongoing reform efforts in Cuba.
La contralora general de Cuba y vicepresidenta del Consejo de Estado, Gladys Bejerano, intervino hoy en la jornada final del XXI Congreso de la Intosai como una de las relatoras del tema Fiscalización Pública y Gobernanza General.

Esta cita de la Organización Internacional de las Entidades Fiscalizadoras Superiores (un organismo de las Naciones Unidas conocido por las siglas Intosai) comenzó el martes en Beijing con la asistencia de unos 700 delegados de 165 países.

La Contralora cubana señaló que en las sesiones hubo muchas intervenciones centradas en las relaciones entre fiscalización y gobernanza nacional, y coincidencias en su contribución al buen desempeño de las administraciones.

Destacó la ayuda inestimable de la Intosai para el correcto funcionamiento de las Entidades Fiscalizadoras Supremas y dijo que este organismo es reconocido por la labor desplegada y sus diversas acciones para elevar la capacidad profesional y el intercambio de las mejores prácticas.

Puntualizó que en los debates se fortaleció la idea de desarrollar más auditorías de desempeño y en general incorporar elementos de éstas a las financieras, buscando respuesta favorables para el mejoramiento del nivel y la calidad de vida de los ciudadanos.

La Vicepresidenta expresó la experiencia, evolución y transformaciones de la Entidad Fiscalizadora Suprema de Cuba que transitó de Oficina Nacional de Auditoría, adjunta al Ministerio de Finanzas y Precios, a convertirse en el Ministerio de Auditoría y Control.

Recordó que la Intosai surgió hace 60 años en Cuba, precisamente cuando un grupo de jóvenes se lanzaban contra la segunda fortaleza militar del país para quebrantar el régimen corrupto imperante entonces.

En ese sentido, la Contralora General puntualizó que su líder Fidel Castro proclamó que entre las leyes que se adoptarían al triunfo de la Revolución (alcanzada el 1 de enero de 1959) estaría la lucha contra la corrupción y por la recuperación de los bienes malversados.

Por tanto, agregó, "la lucha contra la corrupción en Cuba es consustancial a su proceso de independencia y libertad, forma parte de nuestra esencia y filosofía, que invariablemente se ha mantenido". (PL) (En China Contralora General Gladys Bejerano expone experiencia cubana Diario Granma, Oct. 25, 2013)
See also a discussion in a Cuban state blog, "Fight on Corruption in Cuba is Relevant to its Independence Process, said Cuban minister in China," Radio Cadena Agramonte (Camaguey Cuba, Oct. 26, 2013 ("Cuban general comptroller and country’s vice-president Gladys Bejerano said in China that the fight on corruption in Cuba is relevant to the island’s process of independence and freedom and it is also part and parcel of permanent Cuban essence and philosophy.")).  Lamentably the text of the remarks have not been made available.

This encounter occurs as Cuba launches a new anti-corruption effort aimed at government officials.  There is a dual purpose here--the principal one, of course, is to root out the culture of corruption within the state ministries.  the second is to purge officials who have been strong opponents of Raul Castro's efforts to "opening up" even in a limited way, the Cuban economy.

Cuba's Comptroller General launched a nationwide audit Monday to root out corruption and complacency at some 300 state-run companies.

As part of the campaign, about 1,700 auditors, including experts from the National Association of Economists and Accountants (ANEC) and the Bureau of Standards, with the help of students and professors from faculties of accounting, industrial engineering, agronomy, law, and economy, are fanned out across the country.

From now through Nov. 22, auditors will be scrutinizing companies involved in food production; those that sell construction materials, especially in the eastern provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo, which were hit by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012; entities that lease government land to private farmers; export-importers and others.

The audit "aims to check the orderliness of state entities, and correct, rectify, verify and improve their conditions," said Comptroller General Gladys Bejerano.

Cuban leader Raul Castro has taken on corruption and inefficiency since taking office in 2008, warning "we will be relentless."

In 2009, he established the General Comptroller's Office to fight corruption and strengthen institutions.

As part of his crusade against degeneration and complacency, Castro has dismissed ministers and other senior officials, several of whom have been arrested and sentenced to prison terms. (Xinhua News: Cuba launches national audit against corruption, complacency, Oct. 21, 2013).
These efforts, of course, are positive signals, but signals often announced, of a re-focus on corruption and its deleterious effects on the ability fo the state to effectively govern its people and manage its economy.  Where corruption is endemic, the economy may not collapse, but the state's effective control of economic structures and behaviors may effectively disappear and the structures of transaction costs for economic activity may be distorted by the "tolls" that must be paid to officials and others who could otherwise block economic activity.v  Cuba has yet to embrace the notion that where corruption is endemic, the discretion of officials may well produce too great a temptation to abuse (in the absence of substantial and costly monitoring regimes).  (See, e.g.,  Backer, Larry Catá, The Cooperative as Proletarian Corporation: Property Rights between Corporation, Cooperatives and Globalization in Cuba (August 3, 2012). Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business, Vol. 33, 2013; Penn State Law Research Paper No. 16-2012; Consortium for Peace and Ethics Working Paper No. 2012-8-1). Thus, while accounting audits and similar procedures are to be welcomed, they may merely treat the symptoms better but may not efficiently reduce the incentives toward corruption. Those require rethinking some of the structures of control and management, some of which were considered at least preliminarily in the Cuban Communist Party's Lineamientos (e.g.,Cuba's 6th Party Congress and the Lineamientos (Guidelines) For Structural Change In Cuba, May 11, 2011).

Moreover, China has begun to develop a sophisticated anti-corruption effort targeting both Party and State officials. And the structures of both State and Party appear better developed in China.  These touch on ongoing reforms of state and Party under the banner of scientific development. It remains to be seen whether the state and Party institutions of Cuba will be able to profit from the Chinese example, or whether these anti-corruption efforts , instead, highlight the need for substantial reform of the Party and state architecture of Cuba to ensure its sustainability in the coming decades. .  

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