Director of Legal Affairs Department at the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority (ACTA) Mohamed bin Khalid al-Sada has said that Qatar is keen to implement its international obligations, noting that the authority, in co-ordination with the concerned national team, implemented the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
In an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), al-Sada said that since its establishment, the authority has been preparing programs and strategies that would enhance transparency and integrity in the country -- the most important of which is the national strategy to enhance integrity and transparency and prevent corruption, and its executive plan (2022-2026) -- in co-operation and co-ordination with the authorities related to the integrity and transparency system and the prevention of corruption in the country. In preparing the strategy, it relied on a set of national, regional and international references, including the Permanent Constitution of Qatar and the Qatar National Vision 2030.
He indicated that the authority also launched many projects to enhance integrity and transparency, such as the strategic partnerships and the signing of memoranda of understanding between it and several other entities in the country and abroad. He pointed to the authority's role in developing human resources by setting up educational and training programs, in addition to proposing measures that contribute to introducing the phenomenon of corruption, its effects and risks, and contributing to the development of internal regulations related to transparency and integrity in national authorities.
Among the authority's competence is to propose the necessary legislation to prevent and combat corruption, al-Sada said, adding that the authority has also prepared a charter of conduct and integrity for public officials, which was based on its preparation for many national and international references, and the concerned authorities were involved, led by the national team concerned with the implementation of UNCAC.
He explained that the aforementioned charter meets the highest international standards, which are included in international charters and treaties, foremost of which is the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the International Code of Conduct for Public Officials issued by the United Nations General Assembly, codes of professional conduct, and public service ethics for many countries of the world.
Al-Sada also indicated that the authority is working on preparing the Supplier and Contractor Integrity Charter with the aim of strengthening the systems, mechanisms and procedures governing the contracting and supplying operations in ministries, other government agencies and public bodies and institutions. The Charter is an integral part of the Public Officials Integrity Charter, because it deals with the second party of the government procurement procedures (suppliers and contractors). The charter also enhances the system of tenders and biddings in the state through promoting the requirements of contractors or suppliers to government agencies, he said.
He added that ACTA responded to the best international practices, taking into account the social and legislative environment of Qatar, and through this project, it seeks to enhance the position of Qatar at the regional and international levels, as a pioneering model in its legislative structure in terms of keeping pace with the highest international standards of transparency.
He noted that this project aims to enhance transparency and respond to the trend towards a knowledge society, and to establish clear rules for the disclosure of information in the various state authorities; to facilitate service recipients, improve performance in the government sector, and facilitate follow-up of decisions and programs for various state agencies. It also aims to contribute to improving the investment climate. Ensuring access to accurate and up-to-date information is important for any investor to identify investment factors and fulfill the obligations of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
The strategy aims at promoting the integrity and responsiveness to the knowledge society and establishing clear rules for the disclosure of information by various state agencies to facilitate provision of services to recipients and raise the level of performance in the governmental sector. It also aims at contributing to improve the investment climate, and access to accurate and up-to-date information is important for any investor to identify investment factors and meeting the obligations of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Al-Sada said that Qatar has many relevant initiatives at the international level including the launch of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani's International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award, and the hosting of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, noting that the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority is also working to enhance co-operation with regional and international bodies and organisations concerned with combating corruption to emphasise the authority's commitment with regional organisations.
He stressed that the authority is keen, in co-operation with international organisations, to implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption, as the authority has adopted a project aimed at monitoring the most important international indicators related to transparency and integrity, and studying the position of Qatar and its development in these international indicators in co-operation with the relevant international and national authorities.
The Director of the Legal Affairs Department of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority indicated that the authority has opened direct channels of communication with the public to receive their complaints about behaviour involving corruption and lack of integrity, and to take the necessary practical measures to verify these complaints, in coordination with the concerned authorities in the country.
Al-Sada explained that the authority receives complaints related to the bodies subject to its control, which are ministries, government agencies, agencies and companies affiliated with any of them, public bodies and institutions, agencies and companies affiliated with any of them, private associations and institutions, and other entities that conduct business of public interest, on condition that the personal data of the complainant are provided for the purposes of the internal use of the authority, knowing that this data is treated with strict confidentiality for the purposes of examining and verifying the complaint, and is not shared with the complained against without the complainants permission to do so.
Concluding, the Director of the Legal Affairs Department of the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority stressed that the Authority is keen to strengthen the national legal framework to enhance transparency and integrity in the country, including the implementation of international obligations on Qatar, stressing that the authority has coordinated with the national team concerned with the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, in order to ensure the compatibility of Qatari legislation with the aforementioned agreement. He noted that the authority is currently working on studying a set of legislative proposals on a number of areas that serve the implementation of the agreement and enhance transparency and integrity in the country.