High Level Reporting Mechanism in Argentina
Argentina launched an HLRM in January 2018. In the pilot phase launched in April 2018, it applied to public-private partnership (PPP) contracts under a National Highways Directorate (Dirección Nacional de Vialidad, DNV) project to develop 7,500 km of new highways and safe routes. The 12-year road infrastructure project involved a total expenditure of USD 35 billion, with around USD 12 billion spent during the first phase alone (2015–2019). The first round of contracts were awarded in July 2018.
In September 2018, the Anticorruption Office reactivated the HLRM to apply to a public-private partnership (PPP) tender for Electricity Transmission run by the Energy Secretariat. The project involves the construction of new high-voltage electricity transmission lines with a scope of more than 3,000 kilometres.
How the Argentine HLRM Works
The Argentine HLRM is located under the Secretary for Public Ethics, Transparency, and Fight Against Corruption within the Anti-Corruption Office overseen by the President. The HLRM is composed of the Secretary for Public Ethics, Transparency and the Fight Against Corruption, the Undersecretary of Integrity and Transparency, and the Undersecretary of Anti-corruption Investigations.
Alerts submitted to Argentina’s HLRM are assessed within 48 hours by the Unit for Admission and Referral of Complaints. If the issues are within scope – i.e. relating to collusion, bribery, conflicts of interest or any other form of unfair treatment of bidders – the HLRM is activated.
The HRLM’s Group of Experts then addresses the issue with the goal of finding a quick, practical and fair solution. Members include two technical representatives proposed by the College of Engineers, a technical representative proposed by the Anti-Corruption Office and a representative of the Anti-Corruption Studies Centre of the University of San Andrés, Buenos Aires.
In the “Safety in Roads and Highways” and “Electricity Transmission” projects, the HLRM permitted the reporting of four types of misconduct: bribery, influence peddling, bid rigging and conflict of interest. Reports could be made from the beginning of the tender process until 48 hours before the award of the tender. This prevented companies that were not awarded the contract from reporting in bad faith. Reports could be made by participants in the tender and officials involved in the PPP, but not NGOs or other stakeholders.
The HLRM received five and nine reports for the “Safety in Roads and Highways” and “Electricity Transmission” projects respectively. None of the reports reached the Group of Experts because they did not concern eligible types of misconduct.
HLRM Argentina timeline
2016 – 2017: Initial consultations between the Argentine government and the OECD and Basel Institute regarding the HLRM concept and its potential application in Argentina.
February 2017: Passage of Decree 117/2017, implementing Law 27328 of 2016 creating new regime for Public Private Partnership (PPP) contracts in Argentina.
Oct 2017 – Jan 2018: Scoping mission by the OECD and Basel Institute to consult with relevant government and external stakeholders and development and debate on technical options for the HLRM.
January 2018: Launch of the HLRM.
- Report: Roundtable on the pilot High Level Reporting Mechanism in Argentina (English and Spanish)
OECD Integrity Forum 2018: Introducing the HLRM in Argentina
Mora Kantor, Director of Transparency Policy Planning, Anti-Corruption Office (Argentina) speaking at the 2018 OECD Global Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum panel: The High Level Reporting Mechanism: a tool to prevent corruption and beyond (March 29, 2018).
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Support in implementing a HLRM
The Basel Institute on Governance and OECD offer comprehensive support to governments in developing, implementing and monitoring an effective HLRM.
Contact Gemma Aiolfi for more information.