EU Funds Anti-Corruption Measure Boosted
The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has launched a new electronic system so that citizens can anonymously report suspected fraud involving EU funds.
The online Fraud Notification System (FNS) goes online today http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/index_en.html
"Citizens and business people frequently ask us how they should go about reporting suspected fraud involving EU funds to us," said acting OLAF Director-General, Nicholas Ilett. "From time to time we also hear from EU civil servants who, despite all the legal guarantees, are cautious about approaching us directly about cases where they suspect corruption is going on," he adds.
"Our new Fraud Notification System should help everybody. First it offers informants a simple user-friendly interface. Second it gives people the opportunity to submit information to OLAF anonymously but nevertheless to enter into a dialogue with our investigators," he said.
OLAF has been receiving tip-offs from across Europe via freephone numbers and e-mail for several years.
The latest technical safeguards both guarantee informants absolute anonymity and at the same time enable them, if they so wish, to enter into dialogue with OLAF investigators. No one, either inside or outside OLAF, can discover the identity of anyone who has opted to remain anonymous. The system operates like a 'blind' letterbox where both parties can drop off messages.
During a pilot phase the Fraud Notification System will be available in English, French, German and Dutch. However, reports can already be entered on the online form in any EU language. According to OLAF, even during a test phase, several tip-offs were communicated via the new system and some of them led to further investigation.