When does congressional conduct border between unethical and illegal?

by | Jul 8, 2020 | Articles | 0 comments

Through a newspaper report we have learned that one day after the installation of the newCongress, the Board of Directors approved with unique speed the granting of a bonusamounting to Fifteen Thousand Six Hundred and 00/100 soles (S/. 15,600.00) to cover the”installation expenses” of the one hundred and thirty parliamentarians within the parametersgiven by Law.The problem arises when twenty-three congressmen from different political parties collected theinstallation bonus even though they live in Lima and Callao, so we must ask ourselves: Whatconcept of installation did they use to collect the bonus if these congressmen did not come fromthe provinces or regions of the interior of the country? Have these congressmen acted againstthe purpose of the bonus? Is this congressional conduct bordering between unethical and illegal?We will answer all these questions, making a set of reflections on the matter.
Now that we live in the era of compliance, it is interesting to make an analysis of the conduct ofthe congressmen who collected the installation bonus when it did not really correspond to them,their conduct is not only unethical, but bordering on the illegal. Some fathers of the fatherlandhave wanted to justify the receipt of the money by pointing out that they have used it fordonations in common pots in areas vulnerable to Covid-19 and other pretexts, solidarity, socialwork, altruism, etc. are values that should always be present in a society, there is no doubt aboutthat, but they should do it with the money of their own, not with money from the State,which they should never have received because they went against the purpose of the bonus.The Report prepared by the Legal and Constitutional Office of the Congress, concludes that thebonus is a subsidy for the expenses for the change of location of the work of the congressmenand their families to the seat of the sessions of the Congress in the city of Lima, specifying thatit is not appropriate to use it for donations, pointing out that the donations that the congressmenwish to make can be made by discounting their remunerations, which are obviously freelyavailable. I am of the opinion that the only purpose of the bonus is to be a subsidy forcongressmen who have no domicile in Lima, and the Congress should cross-check informationwith the Property Registry of SUNARP to verify that the congressmen of the provinces do nothave registered properties of their property in Lima, if positive, they should not receive theinstallation bonus.Some congressmen have mentioned that this is a legal void that the Board of Directors mustcorrect, that there is no regulatory framework which regulates the destination of the moneyand the obligation to render an account. Others are of the opinion that it corresponds toall congressmen, because the regulation does not discriminate whether they come from theinterior of the country or not, some alleged ignorance and have proceeded to return the moneyfrom the installation bonus.Following this line of ideas, we must reflect if the conduct of some fathers of the fatherland tocollect an installation bonus that clearly does not correspond to them is unethical or borderingon illegal.It is worth asking ourselves now that -supposedly- we live in the culture ofcompliance, even though it is not mandatory for the State Entities, what is the limit of theconduct of the congressmen? In this regard, we must point out that the Code of Ethics of theCongress states in its introduction that: “its purpose is to establish rules on the conduct that themembers of the Congress of the Republic must observe in the performance of their duties. Itintends to preserve the image that Congress should have before the country and ensuresTRANSPARENCY in the administration of the funds entrusted to it. It prevents misconductagainst ETHICS and establishes the mechanisms for investigating and sanctioning legislatorswho contravene parliamentary ethics and use their positions to enrich themselves or commit actsof corruption. This Code is part of the Rules of Procedure of the Congress of the Republic andits non-compliance gives rise to the sanctions provided therein”.The above shows not only the unethical conduct of these congressmen, but also the lack ofinterest and transparency in the fight against corruption, whose ultimate goal is, precisely, theproper administration of state resources.
The Code of Ethics should represent the expression of the will of the Congress, it should bepublic, brief, and effective, it should indicate the values and principles of the entity andshould be the pinnacle of any risk management or compliance system, for which it is essential tohave an ethical leader with autonomy and independence.