Letter to Abullah Ensour on the formation of the National Integrity Committee

From King Abdallah II of Jordan
To Abdullah Ensour
RE: Forming the National Integrity Committee
08 December 2012
Translated from Arabic

In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate

Your Excellency Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour,
Peace be upon you, God’s mercy and blessings,

I send you my greetings, expressing my pride in your career and my trust in your ability to play your national role with responsibility and dedication. I rely on that, especially at this stage, which requires all of us to work hard for the good of the homeland and the citizens.

Today, we are working with great resolve to realistically and responsibly translate the outputs of the comprehensive reform process, in all its political, economic and social dimensions. Today, Jordanians’ confidence in state institutions, which will motivate them to actively participate in decision and policy making and implementation processes, is the engine that drives comprehensive reform efforts towards success and allows us to continue on our path to build and achieve.

Jordan has managed, with God’s grace, to build entrenched and prestigious institutions that have distinguished themselves with efficiency and prudent administration. These institutions have over the past decades immensely contributed to serving citizens’ interests and protecting and securing their rights.

Considering the requirements of the next stage of democratic rejuvenation, and the requirements of the reform process in its various dimensions, I feel that we must, in line with national priorities, renew and develop the national integrity system so that it builds on all achievements to date, forge ahead with increasing citizens’ confidence in the state and its institutions, and reassure them about their present and the future of their children.

Laying the foundations for the higher principles on which the homeland was built upon - such as justice, equality, transparency and the rule of law, in addition to fighting corruption and accountability, which are the cornerstones of good governance in Jordan - is the basic rule and the constant spirit of our reform process.

The reform process will not reach its desired goal unless a true, actual, balanced partnership is built between all institutions within the national integrity system, to establish a framework for cooperation based on a clear vision and qualitative basis.

Your Excellency,

Fighting and preventing all forms of corruption, reforming the financial and administrative systems, strengthening the organisational values and ethics in state institutions, and enrooting the practice of the right to access information, in addition to consolidating transparency, justice and accountability in administrative decision-making within government institutions, the private sector and civil society, all these are priorities that will not be achieved without activating and integrating the role of control and monitoring agencies, in line with best practices and professional standards.

Building on these constants and as a translation of these visions, I hereby entrust you with chairing a committee to strengthen the national integrity system.

The committee will be tasked with reviewing the laws and studying the situation of monitoring agencies, in addition to diagnosing the problems they face. Additionally, the committee will reveal shortcomings and weaknesses, and will issue recommendations to strengthen these bodies, enhance their work against corruption, and ensure better collaboration between them.

This should lead to applying the best standards for balanced institutional performance, which would ensure an atmosphere of justice and accountability. It will also improve the agencies’ performance in realising the public good, which is our first priority and highest goal.

As such, we decided to select the following eminent figures as members of the committee on the national integrity system:

  • HE President of the Senate
  • HE President of the Judicial Council
  • HE Minister of Public Sector Development/Rapporteur
  • Dr Rajai Muasher
  • Dr Muhammad Hammouri
  • Mr Abdul Majid Thuneibat
  • Mr Talal Abu-Ghazaleh
  • Ms Abla Abu Olbeh
  • Dr Mousa Burayzat
  • Mr Mahmoud Erdisat
  • Mr Bassem Sakijha

Here, it is imperative to emphasise a set of basic points as part of the committee’s terms of reference:

  • Firstly: Ensure that the administration of public money and state resources is done properly, and place regulations that would prevent any squandering.
  • Secondly: Increase accountability and transparency in the public sector, regarding budgets, tenders and governmental supplies, in addition to placing a framework for appointments in senior positions and standards for offered services and dealing with complaints.
  • Thirdly: Enable monitoring agencies by strengthening their ability to deter and fight corruption, according to each institution’s area of concern.
  • Fourthly: Instill the principles of good governance within the public and private sectors and civil society institutions, to establish a culture of transparency, accountability and concern for the public’s well-being.
  • Fifthly: Develop a framework that would regulate the collaborative relations between the public and private sectors.

I reaffirm the need for the highest degree of impartiality to be exercised by the committee while performing its national tasks, and I emphasise the need for the committee to establish communication and dialogue with all civil society organisations, including parties, professional associations and various political forces. I also urge you to be open-minded as you listen to the ideas and visions of Jordanians, so that the committee will use these ideas to prepare the following:

Firstly: Drafting a document that includes the basic principles and ethical and professional criteria that would regulate work in both the public and private sectors, strengthening integrity, transparency, the rule of law and accountability, which would ensure justice and equal opportunity, in a bid to fight wasta and favouritism.

Secondly: Preparing an executive plan with a specified timeline to strengthen the national integrity system, accountability and transparency, while institutionalising its work and cooperation mechanisms. The plan will specify and recommend laws that need to be amended, as well as the technical needs to develop the organisational capacity of relevant agencies so they can carry out their work according to the best international practices.

After the document and plan are concluded, they will be published and discussed — transparently and objectively — at a general, national conference, before being presented to the coming parliamentary government. That would form a new and awaited starting point in our blessed reform process, God willing.

Today, in light of the requirements of this stage and the reform achievements, I reaffirm the importance of unity amongst all the sons and daughters of our dear country, in a single march where all efforts complement each other to achieve the higher interest of our country. I have complete faith that this committee, which enjoys our support and assistance, in addition to the collaboration of all state agencies, will perform its tasks to the fullest and serve the public interest.

I wish you success in the service of our dear country and faithful, noble people.

Peace be upon you, God’s mercy and blessings,

Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
Amman, 8 December 2012