New York, 16 December 2022 (TDI): The United Nations (UN) and Honduras have signed a preliminary agreement to establish an anti-corruption commission in Honduras.

Honduran Foreign Minister, Enrique Reina and UN Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenca signed a memorandum of cooperation in New York.

They signed the memorandum on Thursday in the presence of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and President Xiomara Castro.

As the Castro administration will be in power until 2026 and it desires to work with the UN, it is likely that the UN commission’s inquiry into corruption in Honduras will be somewhat effective.

In short term, the anti-corruption mission is expected to result in higher reputational risks for businesses in Honduras as local business associates and contacts in the government may face allegations of wrongdoing.

However, if the anti-corruption commission is effective in helping Honduras to prevent corruption, the environment for businesses may improve as a result of reduced regulatory and reputational concerns.

Background of the Commission

International Mission Against Corruption and Impunity (CICIH) is the second such commission that will work in Honduras.

Before this, there was an anti-corruption mission of the Organization of American States (OAS). It started working in 2016 and left in early 2020.

A UN delegation visited Honduras in May to progress talks for the establishment of the International Commission against Impunity.

The new institution will be in charge of conducting independent investigations. It will have the ability to bring corruption cases before local courts.

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Moreover, the previous mission, the Mission of Support against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH) could not do this. It gathered information and forwarded it to the relevant prosecutorial unit for submission to justice.

US diplomats and nonprofit organizations estimate that corruption costs Honduras about $3 billion annually.