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Brunei

Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process

Citizens do not have the ability to choose their government. The sultan rules through hereditary birthright. While the country is a constitutional sultanate, in 1962 the ruler invoked an article of the constitution that allows him to assume emergency powers. The present sultan continued this practice and most recently renewed the state of emergency for an additional two-year period in a December 2018 proclamation.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government generally implemented these laws effectively, although officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices.

Corruption: Although corruption was not pervasive, the sultan publicly criticized police, the military, and the immigration and labor departments for corrupt activities by some officials, among other shortcomings. In September the high court began a high-profile trial of two former judges indicted in July 2018 on 40 corruption-related charges, including money laundering and embezzling money from Brunei’s court system. The case was particularly noteworthy because the husband-and-wife pair were very well connected–one was the son of the minister of religious affairs and the other the daughter of a retired high-ranking military officer.

Financial Disclosure: Government officials are not subject to routine financial disclosure reports, but by law officials must declare their assets if they are the subject of an investigation. The government did not make these declarations public. The Anticorruption Bureau also issued a public warning to all government workers that it is empowered to investigate any official who maintains a standard of living above or disproportionate to his or her past or present emolument.

Monaco

Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process

The authority to change the government and to initiate legislation rests solely with the prince. The constitution can be revised by common agreement between the prince and the elected National Council. The constitution and law provide citizens the ability to choose the National Council in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government generally implemented these laws effectively. There were no reports of government corruption during the year.

Corruption: There were sporadic allegations of governmental corruption during the year but no formal proceedings against government officials for corrupt practices. The Council of Europe’s anticorruption body, GRECO, reported in 2017 there was “no record of criminal or disciplinary proceedings relating to the integrity of a parliamentarian, which may be as much due to the absence of intrinsic problems as to the absence of specific rules and mechanisms designed to preserve the integrity of national elected representatives.”

On June 26, the government announced that the contract of French investigating judge Edouard Levrault, which expired on September 1, would not be renewed. Judge Levrault had been leading into the inquiry of bribery and influence peddling. “The Monaco authorities gave no justification for their decision, something that should not be tolerated under the rule of law,” Levrault told press in October. Rybolovlev is a Russian businessman and the owner of the country’s soccer team. A collector of expensive art, he sued his Monaco-based art dealer for fraud in 2015, accusing him of inflating the prices of paintings he resold to Rybolovlev. In 2018 the government began a formal investigation into accusations that Rybolovlev had bribed several police and other officials to influence the case. The ensuing corruption scandal resulted in the resignation of the former minister of justice in 2017. During the year the government appointed a senior French prosecutor, Robert Gelli, to be the minister of justice, replacing the previous Monegasque incumbent Laurent Anselmi.

Financial Disclosure: Appointed and elected officials are not subject to financial disclosure laws.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future