Uruguay: Lo Que No Conocemos Del Delito De Abuso De Funciones

Last Updated: 27 June 2017
Article by Diego Galante

El ciudadano debe estar atento y preocupado. Derogar o no el delito de abuso de funciones no ubica la discusión del tema correctamente. Por lo menos no explica la profundidad del tema. Presupone que hubiera necesidad de derogar el delito, como una verdad revelada que no admitiera otro camino. Y eso no es así en absoluto.

Lo primero es conocer qué dice el artículo 162 del Código Penal bajo el nombre "abuso de funciones en casos no previstos especialmente por la ley" (o vulgarmente conocido como "abuso de funciones"):

El funcionario público que, con abuso de su cargo, cometiere u ordenare cualquier acto arbitrario en perjuicio de la Administración o de los particulares, que no se hallare especialmente previsto en las disposiciones del Código o de las leyes especiales, será castigado con tres meses de prisión a tres años de penitenciaría, inhabilitación especial de dos a cuatro años y multa de 10 UR (diez unidades reajustables) a 3.000 UR (tres mil unidades reajustables).

El delito integra el elenco de los definidos como actos de corrupción, porque la Ley 17.060 de 1998 lo incluyó junto a otros como aquellos que combaten el uso del poder público para beneficio o interés distinto al propio del Estado. O sea, es un delito que combate directamente la corrupción en el Estado de los jerarcas y funcionarios públicos.

Esta discusión sobre la posible derogación del delito es muy antigua y bastante absurda. Ningún legislador podría seriamente plantearse eliminar la casi única disposición que existe contra la corrupción en el país. En todo caso, podría ser revisada pero jamás derogada. Uruguay ha tomado compromisos internacionales por la lucha contra la corrupción en la Convención de ONU 2003 (aprobada por Ley 18.056) y en la Convención Interamericana 1996 (aprobada por Ley 17.008).

Es absolutamente verdadero que la mayoría de los profesores y especialistas en derecho penal han sostenido que el delito, tal como está redactado, deja un amplio margen a que cualquier conducta pueda ser objeto de una sanción penal. Se habla de un delito "cajón". Pero la única verdad absoluta en derecho la establece el Poder Judicial; y la Suprema Corte de Justicia ha dicho desde 1933 a hoy, en sus más diversas integraciones, que este delito es constitucional.  También los jueces han ido separando los actos y conductas discrecionales de los jerarcas y los meros errores, de aquellos propiamente arbitrarios, abusivos, lesivos para el Estado o para un particular, que sí merecen una condena penal.

Entonces, derogar el delito no es realmente una necesidad impuesta porque la Suprema Corte de Justicia lo encuentre apartado de la Constitución. Concurren obviamente cuestiones bastante más profundas que razones estrictamente técnicas. Hay una intención o una necesidad, como se lo quiera ver, de cuidar a los jerarcas que llevan adelante actividades de gobierno y de administración, en el Estado y en las empresas públicas, que se ven envueltos en situaciones penales producto de esa gestión. Los jerarcas piensan que un programa de gobierno o una ideología aplicada en el Estado, debería estar por encima del derecho vigente. Y eso es lo que cuida esta norma: cuando la raya de la legalidad queda borrada por un funcionario. Aún con todas las imperfecciones que tiene la redacción del delito.

Es entendible que el establishment político quiera protegerse de consecuencias penales. Al final, todos los partidos tienen actuación de gobierno, incluso la oposición, por la cual han tenido que responder ante la justicia. Han desfilado ministros, vicepresidentes, directores de empresas públicas, jerarcas varios. Sin embargo, es ahí donde el límite del Estado de derecho debe imponerse por encima de la conveniencia de una persona o de un colectivo. Aquí el interés del ciudadano es relevante.

Lo más llamativo es que nadie se ha detenido a pensar que el art. 162 del Código Penal incluso tiene más amplitud que los cargos políticos o de confianza. Hay cientos de casos en toda la Administración, los Municipios, las Empresas Públicas, los Entes Educativos y demás reparticiones del Estado. Son casos de los funcionarios públicos a quienes la justicia les ha aplicado el abuso de funciones por motivos que no salen en los titulares de los diarios. Veamos una rápida colección de algunas conductas penadas en la función pública por nuestros jueces:

  • Médica de salud pública que retira de la farmacia del Hospital medicamentos para entregarlos sin cargo a un paciente particular
  • Agentes policiales que hacen un procedimiento irregular de detención de una persona, sin orden judicial ni exhibir documento alguno; lo mismo para una incautación y secuestro de bienes sin orden judicial
  • Funcionario público que paga reparaciones en un vehículo de un particular con fondos públicos con otros destinos
  • Jerarca que concede licencias ordinarias y extraordinarias a menores del INAU cuando ello no era acorde con las leyes de protección de los menores.
  • Director de un servicio que autoriza el pago de sobresueldos con fondos extraídos de otras partidas presupuestales
  • Director municipal que no utiliza los procedimientos de licitación previstos específicamente en el Estado para contratos de empresa de servicios
  • Jerarca que manipula un sistema de software para asignar publicidad digitada fuera de los criterios y topes legales.

Así que la derogación del delito de abuso de funciones implicaría mucho más que un acto para enmendar una supuesta inconstitucionalidad.

Significaría:

  1. Contradecir a la Suprema Corte de Justicia, que es el único órgano constitucional con competencia en el tema, la cual jamás determinó su inconstitucionalidad desde 1933, sino lo inverso.
  2. Desconocer los pactos internacionales del país en la prevención y lucha contra la corrupción que nuestro país ha adherido libremente.
  3. Liberar de responsabilidad a los jerarcas y gobernantes designados sucesivamente para gestionar los servicios y el patrimonio público, cuando cometan actos arbitrarios y deliberados.
  4. Liberar de responsabilidad a todos los funcionarios públicos del país cuando hagan lo propio en cada una de las oficinas o reparticiones que tienen bajo su responsabilidad.
  5. Exculpar a todos y cada uno de los jerarcas, gobernantes y funcionarios públicos que fueron condenados por estos delitos en el pasado, dejándolos sin sanción penal de tipo alguno ni antecedentes, los que podrán volver a ocupar cargos públicos como ciudadanos exentos de tal delito.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Emails

From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.