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Jordan: Cabinet Approves New Amendments to Anti-corruption Law

(Sept. 24, 2020) On June 14, 2020, Jordan’s minister of state for media affairs, Amjad Al-Adaileh, announced that a draft law amending Law No. 13 of 2016, the Integrity and Anti-corruption Law had been approved by the cabinet. The new amendments will be introduced to Parliament in accordance with constitutional principles.

Background

The Integrity and Anti-corruption Commission was established by article 2 of the Integrity and Anti-corruption Law in 2016. The commission was created as part of a comprehensive reform process in the belief that combating corruption and consolidating the foundations of integrity, transparency, justice, and equality would create the basic foundations of good governance in Jordan.

The main purpose of the commission is to combat corruption in all its forms. It aims at establishing and applying national integrity principles, and developing a national environment that rejects corruption and prevents corruption before it occurs.

The commission aims to ensure adherence to the principles of national integrity and to combat corruption through

  • ensuring that the government provides service to citizens with transparency and fairness;
  • collecting information from concerned citizens and whistleblowers to investigate governmental corruption in all its forms;
  • prosecuting those who commit any acts of corruption, seizing their movable and immovable property, and enforcing a travel ban on them;
  • ensuring that the public administration adheres to the principles of good governance and standards of equal opportunity;
  • enhancing citizen confidence in the state and its institutions;
  • supporting sustainable development by enhancing investor confidence in the integrity of state institutions; and
  • ensuring the existence of a legal framework that strengthens the accountability of officials and decision-makers in the public administration.

Overview of Proposed Amendments

The amendments approved by the cabinet provide the country’s Integrity and Anti-corruption Commission with more financial and organizational independence, enabling it to enhance its capabilities in pursuing cases related to corruption. These amendments uphold the government’s will to eliminate corruption, develop tools for legal prosecution of corruption crimes, and improve Jordan’s international reputation in the anti-corruption field. They also bring Jordan’s laws into closer accord with article 23 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption of 2003 and article 4 of the Arab Anti-corruption Agreement of 2010, both of which recognize the laundering of criminal proceeds as a form of corruption. The new amendments give the Integrity and Anti-corruption Commission the right to conduct corruption investigations related to money laundering crimes, as well as make settlements with the perpetrators of these crimes if they return the money in accordance with the provisions of the Economic Crimes Law. The settlements are subject to the approval of the Judicial Committee formed under the Economic Crimes Law.

The new amendments also address the abuse of power in crimes of corruption, through which the abusers obtain or attempt to obtain public office, public services, bids, contracts, or any other undeserved advantage from the government. Additionally, the new amendments consider as corruption the criminal acts stated in article 59 of Election Law No. 6 of 2016—namely, bribery to “induce voters to vote in a particular manner, or to abstain from voting, or to influence others to vote or abstain from voting.”