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Uzbekistan must ensure implementation of ambitious anti-corruption reforms

 

17/04/2019 -  Uzbekistan has initiated ambitious anti-corruption reforms to overhaul many areas of public governance,  backed by political commitment at the highest level. These reform efforts, however, are still at the early stages of implementation and more needs to be done, according to a new OECD report.

The report commends Uzbekistan for adopting an important law on combating corruption, which introduces the legal framework and multiple tools to tackle corruption. This new law sets up an effective institutional mechanism for ensuring coordinated anti-corruption policies and measures. The report also recognises and encourages significant reforms in the field of public procurement, administrative procedures, as well as the introduction of e-governance services.

However, the level of corruption remains high and trust in government is low. Anti-corruption institutions require adequate resources and training in order to operate effectively. The current legal framework, institutions and practice do not sufficiently guarantee the independence of judges and prosecutors. Many new integrity measures, such as provisions on prevention of conflict of interest, ethics, and whistleblower protection lack effective enforcement mechanisms. Furthermore, major reforms are required to introduce modern and effective mechanisms for the prevention of conflicts of interest as well as asset and interest disclosure system by public officials. The report welcomes the ongoing reform of the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code and encourages Uzbekistan  to ensure this reform meets international standards. Uzbekistan should also  take other steps necessary for the effective investigation and prosecution of complex corruption crimes, including high-level corruption. 

The report also recommends that Uzbekistan:

  • Provide the Republican Interagency Commission and territorial commissions with additional resources and training;
  • Adopt and implement the unified law governing the civil service to build a professional, transparent and accountable civil service;
  • Overhaul the judiciary and public prosecution systems to safeguard their independence and integrity;
  • Open up government registers and other information that is of public interest;
  • Decriminalise defamation in order to ensure active reporting on corruption.

The report also includes an in-depth study of the tax sector and recommends a set of measures to address high corruption risks in this sector. Uzbekistan is the first Istanbul Action Plan country that has selected the tax sector for such analysis.

The full report and recommendations on Uzbekistan are available in English and Russian.

The report is published under the Istanbul Anti-Corruption Action Plan, launched in 2003 as part of the Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ACN), a regional initiative of the OECD Working Group on Bribery. More information is at www.oecd.org/corruption/acn/.

For further information, contact Mrs. Olga Savran, ACN Manager at the OECD’s Anti-Corruption Division at +33 1 45 24 13 81 or anti-corruption.contact@oecd.org.

 

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