Guatemala: Acuerdos de Indulgencia – ¿Una alternativa para salir de la crisis institucional en la que está Guatemala?

Last Updated: 14 November 2017
Article by Alejandro Cofiño

Desde la crisis política e institucional que Guatemala está viviendo desde el año 2015, la economía ha ido sufriendo poco a poco las consecuencias de esta situación de letargo e impase. Esto ha llegado al punto que a finales de octubre de este año, S&P bajó la calificación soberana e internacional de finanzas públicas de largo plazo de Guatemala a BB-, y que han atribuido principalmente a la inestabilidad política y debilidad institucional, resultado, en parte, de una lucha muy positiva contra la corrupción pero que también ha tenido efectos negativos. Como dice el refrán popular "toda moneda tiene dos caras". 

El rezago en el crecimiento económico afecta a todos los guatemaltecos sin excepción, baja la recaudación fiscal, reduce la creación de empleo, afecta al comercio, desincentiva la inversión pública y privada, polariza a la sociedad y agrava la hemiplejía en la que estamos metidos como país.

Luego de dos años de vivir esta inestabilidad que por el momento no tiene un desenlace y solución clara, es importante tomar en consideración qué están haciendo otros países que han pasado o están viviendo situaciones similares. Posiblemente el mejor ejemplo es Brasil y su programa basado en acuerdos de indulgencia (en inglés, leniency agreements). ¿Será esta forma la adecuada para ayudar a Guatemala a salir de la crisis actual y reactivar el crecimiento económico e inversión? Vale la pena un pequeño análisis...

Convicción de todas las partes para salir del hoyo.

Debe existir una convicción general por parte del gobierno y la sociedad civil que la situación actual no puede prolongarse más y hay que resolverla. Esto no implica dejar de castigar a los culpables, sino hacer los máximos esfuerzos para que el país retome el rumbo de crecimiento económico, desarrollo, progreso e inversión de forma paralela con la ofensiva contra la corrupción. Implica dejar las luchas de poder disfrazadas de ideologías ya inexistentes y enfocarse en salir del hoyo en el que estamos metidos.

Base legal para un programa de indulgencia efectivo.

Para que dichos acuerdos de indulgencia tengan validez y soporte legal para la situación que estamos viviendo, se debe emitir legislación especial enfocada en limpiar la industria y comercio de corrupción y erradicarla a futuro. Esto conlleva al menos una ley especial como hizo Brasil con su Ley Anti-Corrupción y la Ley de Compañías Limpias, y luego modificaciones a las leyes de contratación entre el sector público y privado para incentivar la transparencia y la competencia, y evitar todo tipo de corrupción (p.ej. soborno, tráfico de influencias, apropiación de fondos públicos, procesos sin debido proceso, nepotismo, favoritismos, concesiones hechas a la medida, etc.).

Guía de contenido de los acuerdos de indulgencia.

Hay que tener lineamientos claros de los términos y condiciones que pueden contener los acuerdos de indulgencia, los cuales deben ser convenidos entre la autoridad de gobierno designada con poder legal para ello (p.ej. Ministerio Público) y los acusados de corrupción o quienes pretendan beneficiarse de un acuerdo de este tipo.

Al menos en Brasil, los acuerdos de indulgencia deben de contener: (i) una multa económica (normalmente con base a rangos según los delitos y perjuicio económico causado, además de la condición financiera del sujeto); y, (ii) la obligación de publicar en un medio de comunicación dicho acuerdo y resolución que lo aprobó, todo con fines de información y conocimiento público.

Además, esta guía, como se le ha llamado en Brasil, puede incluir sin limitación, temas como:

1.    Plazo y forma de pago de la multa.

2.    Limitación de participar en contrataciones con el sector público.*

3.    Prohibición de recibir o manejar fondos públicos, incentivos o exenciones fiscales, subsidios, donaciones y cualquier otra ayuda o beneficio por parte de entidades del sector público o que manejen fondos públicos.*

4.    Confiscación y expropiación de bienes y dación en pago.

5.    Suspensión de actividades, e incluso la disolución obligatoria de la sociedad. 

6.    Medidas sustitutivas (p.ej. arresto domiciliario, embargo de activos, arraigo).

7.    Constitución de garantías de cumplimiento para evitar o disuadir la reincidencia.

8.    Implementación de mecanismos que aseguren la colaboración inmediata y permanente con las autoridades públicas, la transparencia y cumplimiento (p.ej. gobierno corporativo, obligación de reportar, proceso de alertas, códigos de conducta, capacitaciones, compartir nuevas evidencias, etc.).

9.    Confidencialidad durante la etapa de negociaciones del acuerdo.

10.  Dependiendo el tipo de delito y caso y de la legislación aplicable, la obligación de involucrar en las negociaciones de un acuerdo de indulgencia a diversas autoridades (p.ej. Fiscal General, Procurador General de la Nación, Contraloría General de Cuentas, Ministerios, etc.).

* Por un determinado tiempo, y puede o no aplicar según la gravedad del acto de corrupción imputado.

Asimismo, también debe permitirse la aplicación menos severa de multas y sanciones si la empresa o persona acusada de corrupción decide voluntariamente revelarlo y cooperar con las autoridades. Y precisamente para estos casos es que sirven los acuerdos de indulgencia, permitiendo negociar y acordar una solución transparente, pronta y certera para ambas partes.

Prevalencia del interés público.

Finalmente, para que los acuerdos de indulgencia puedan negociarse y eventualmente suscribirse, es imperativo que el interés público se vea beneficiado. Para esto, el imputado o quien pretenda acogerse a un programa de indulgencia debe demostrar que tienen información y evidencia nueva que no era conocida y que ayudará a la investigación.

Aunque lo anterior no necesariamente es la solución ideal para el grave problema de inacción que existe en Guatemala, seguramente sí puede ser una alternativa viable y efectiva en casos de empresas privadas envueltas en investigaciones o casos de corrupción, permitir un acuerdo definitivo que beneficie el interés público, y a través de la aplicación de la justicia, retomar la actividad comercial y participación entre el sector público y privado.

El presente artículo fue redactado usando diversas fuentes de información, incluyendo los siguientes links:

-https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=2a332fcd-7345-4361-8600-d07af62abbe4

-https://riskandcompliancemagazine.com/leniency-agreements-in-brazil/

-http://www.businessinsider.com/r-brazils-jf-agrees-to-pay-32-billion-fine-in-leniency-agreement-2017-5

-http://www.iflr.com/Article/3539336/Brazil-Anti-corruption-leniency-agreements.html

-http://latinlawyer.com/article/1147645/competing-forces?utm_source=Law%20Business%20Research&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8854137_Latin%20Lawyer%20Headlines%2006%2F11%2F2017&dm_i=1KSF,59RW9,MFMZ2I,KBL9F,1

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