Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday emphasized his strong anti-corruption stance, saying that the aim of his administration was to “govern from a glass box, with total transparency.”
Speaking at the the opening of the Competitiveness Commission in Bogota, Santos said that the government would redesign anti-corruption policies and toughen penalties so that offenders “pay for their crimes in prison, as they should.”
The president said that competitive studies show that corruption is one of the major obstacles of doing business in Colombia and the fight for increased transparency was of “paramount importance.”
NGO Transparency International said Tuesday that Colombia’s fight against corruption was stagnating, after the country was ranked 78th of 178 countries in the organization’s 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index, a drop of three places from 2009.
Colombia scores 3.5 in this year’s index, where 10 is “highly clean” and 0 is “highly corrupt,” a drop from its score of 3.7 in 2009. This is the lowest level since 2000, when the country scored 3.2.
In the last ten years the corruption perception score has hovered between 3.6 and 4.0, according to Transparencia por Colombia (TPC), the organization’s Colombia chapter.
In September Santos announced a “national crusade” against corruption. He said the government was “going after the contract cartels and their networks of supporters … We are going after the corrupt and their property which is the property of all Colombians,” Santos said.