[JURIST] The government of Honduras and the Organization of American States (OAS) [official website] on Tuesday signed an agreement [text, in Spanish; press release] to create the Mission to Support the Fight Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH). The MACCIH will be composed of a team of prosecutors, judges and corruption experts tasked with investigating corruption networks in the nation. The President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernanzdez [official website], called the agreement historic [AP report]. The pressure to fight corruption in Honduras mounted in recent years, after a $300 million embezzlement scheme involving the country’s social security system was linked to a number of government officials and businessmen. The MACCIH will begin work in February, and it will operate under a four-year mandate with USD $32 million in funding from OAS.
Fighting public corruption remains a key legal issue around the world. Earlier this week the US Supreme Court granted certiorari [JURIST report] in McDonnell v. United States [SCOTUSblog backgrounder]. The court will interpret the definition of “official action” that was used to convict former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell of corruption in 2014 for accepting money in exchange for assisting a Virginia company in securing university testing of a dietary supplement. Last week the trial of former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra began [JURIST report] in the Supreme Court of Thailand, as she appeared in court to face corruption charges involving mismanagement of a rice-subsidy program. Also last week an Egyptian court rejected the appeal of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons [JURIST report] regarding their conviction of and sentence for corruption. At the end of 2015 former Guatemalan president Otto Pérez Molina was formally charged [JURIST report] by prosecutors following the investigation into the corruption scandal that led to his resignation. Molina is suspected of illicit association, customs fraud and bribery. Guatemala has a similar arrangement with OAS.