- Gema Aragones, Deputy Chief of Party on the USAID/MCC Threshold Anti-corruption Project for Paraguay
- Eduardo Flores, Deputy Chief of Party on USAID’s Mobilizing Action Against Corruption Project in Armenia
- Varazdat Karapetyan, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gegharkunik Province, Armenia
The Government of Paraguay has developed an Office of Support for Citizen Control with the assistance of Casals and Associates. Access to information is essential to promote integrity. The office also manages citizen complaints. Ms. Aragones said that there has been significant improvements in transparency over the past 2 years but that more civil society organizations need to be involved in Paraguay.
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Eduardo Flores described transparency initiatives in Armenia. Mr. Flores asked what organizations are responsible for transparency. He described the need for political will, independent media, professional audit, independent legislature, effective law enforcement and other civil society actors. He suggests that not all accountability pillars need to be strong in order to achieve positive anti-corruption. NGOs are used as advocacy and assistance centers in Armenia to manage anti-corruption activities. 11 regional centers have been established. He provided statistics showing 863 corruption cases resulting, so far, in 87 under prosecution. Institutional inefficiencies have also been identified. Armenia anti-corruption processes are gaining improved government credibility according to Mr. Flores.
Mr. Flores had some interesting observations on how citizens change behaviour depending on where they are.
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Varazdat Karapetyan, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gegharkunik Province in Armenia provided specific anti-corruption cases. He described the systemic analysis of the case of where a doctor demanded payment for free services. Mr. Karapetyan pointed out that underpaying doctors creates corruption. He described how holistic analysis provides a roadmap for reform. He emphasized that the culture from the former Soviet times needs reform.
Mr. Karapetyan described how systemic extortion by tax and the registry of new business government ministries was addressed. He also described how individual instances of corruption were adjusted.
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