September 19, 2021

In 2020, record activity for the High Authority for the transparency of public life, monitoring the integrity of elected officials

In 2020, despite the health crisis and the successive confinements, the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP) did not lose control: the body created in 2013 in response to the Cahuzac affair, to control the integrity of public officials and restore the confidence of citizens, verified 2,500 declarations of interests or assets, deemed to be priorities, out of 17,000 declarations filed.

This is a record flow since 2014, due to the busy political and electoral news, with the arrival of declarations of the start of the mandate of mayors, senators and ministers of the Castex government. The checks by the High Authority last on average one hundred and eighty-six days and aim to detect suspicious enrichment or prevent conflicts of interest. They continued this year. The independent authority published, Thursday, June 3, its activity report, submitted in advance to Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Jean Castex, as well as to the presidents of the two assemblies.

Elected officials and public officials have not all fulfilled their transparency obligations with the same speed. “The results are mixed, concedes Didier Migaud, the president of the HATVP. At the end of the legal deadlines, which were extended due to the health crisis, only 47 % of mayors and 39 % of their deputies had filed their declarations. “ If, ultimately, 99% of the declarations have been completed, it is at the cost of a great effort of recovery and education on the part of the services of the HATVP, he notes. Thousands of calls made by its teams.

Clumsiness

Contrasted, the results are also on the merits, since the rate of compliant declarations – exact, exhaustive and sincere -, fell from 73% in 2019 to 53% in 2020. However, thanks to reminders of the reporting obligations and of corrective declarations, the HATVP has sent only ten cases to justice for possible criminal offenses, or half as many as in 2019. Five of them relate to possible acts of illegal taking of interests.

A minister is among these ten reports, as revealed The world November 24, 2020 and as the HATVP website now indicates: Alain Griset, Minister for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), whom the supervisory authority accuses, in a statement published on its site, of failing to declare, after joining the government in mid-2020, “Financial participations held in a stock savings plan, as well as the associated cash account, for an amount of 171,000 euros”. And this, “In order to prevent the revelation of facts liable to receive the criminal qualification of breach of trust”. Two judicial inquiries were opened against the minister, in Lille and in Paris. The latter pleaded awkwardness.

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