Paraguayan law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, impunity impedes effective implementation. Historically, officials in all branches and at all levels of government have engaged in corrupt practices. Furthermore, the Comptroller Office estimates 90 percent of public institutions have deficiencies in their oversight systems. Judicial insecurity and corruption mar Paraguay’s investment climate. Many investors find it difficult to enforce contracts and are frustrated by lengthy bureaucratic procedures, limited transparency and accountability, and impunity. A recent trend is for private companies to insist on arbitration for dispute resolution and bypass the judicial system completely.
The Paraguayan government has taken several steps in recent years to increase transparency and accountability, including the creation of an internet-based government procurement system, the disclosure of government payroll information, the appointment of nonpartisan officials to key posts, and increased civil society input and oversight. Notwithstanding, corruption and impunity continue to affect the investment climate.
In December 2020 President Abdo Benitez signed a decree approving a National Integrity, Transparency, and Anti-Corruption Plan (NITAP) that was developed with USAID´s technical assistance and has been reviewed by key stakeholders, including the private sector, NGOs, and academia. The NITAP is Paraguay’s five-year (2021-2025) road map to foster integrity and transparency, and fight corruption and impunity. The document includes more than 70 actions and commitments that involve all levels of the three branches of government, as well as the private sector, academia and NGOs, among other key stakeholders. USAID is supporting several actions of the NITAP. Although the DNCP has a Good Governance Code that provides internal controls, ethic principles and addresses conflict-of-interest in government procurements, it remains one of the areas where corruption in most pervasive. DNCP issued a resolution in January 2021 creating a committee that would work on identifying and eliminating discriminatory conditions and requirements that would limit participants and free competition in government procurement.
The constitution requires all public employees, including elected officials and employees of independent government entities, to disclose their income and assets at least 15 days after taking office and again within 15 days after finishing their term or assignment, but at no point in between, which is problematic for congressional representatives that are re-elected numerous times. Public employees are required to include information on the assets and income of spouses and dependent children. Officials are not required to file periodically when changes occur in their holdings.
Civil Society groups and NGOs noted an increase of tools and regulations over the past years to promote access to information, transparency and combat corruption. However, impunity remains the main challenge as political parties dominate the Judicial System.
UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combating Bribery:
Paraguay signed and ratified the UN Anti-corruption Convention in 2005.
Resources to Report Corruption: