Parliamentary question by Maurizio Turco (NI) to the Commission and answer given by Mrs Schreyer on behalf of the Commission
WRITTEN QUESTION P-0826/02
by Maurizio Turco (NI) to the Commission
(18 March 2002)
Subject: State of OLAF inquiries
Would the Commission provide details of the OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office) inquiries concluded and still in progress in the period January to December 2001 and in 2002.
For each of the inquiries, these details should include:
- the name of the body which is the subject of the inquiry;
- the date the inquiry was opened (and, where appropriate, closed) and the amount thought to have been defrauded (and, where appropriate, the amount found to have been defrauded);
- the action taken on inquiries which found that fraud affecting the interests of the European institutions had taken place.
Answer given by Mrs Schreyer
on behalf of the Commission
(6 May 2002)
Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999 and Regulation (Euratom) No 1074/1999 of the Parliament and of the Council of 25 May 1999(1) provide in Article 12, paragraph 3 that the Director of OLAF shall report regularly to the Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the Court of Auditors on the findings of investigations carried out by the Office, whilst respecting the confidentiality of those investigations, the legitimate rights of the persons involved and, where appropriate, national provisions applicable to judicial proceedings.
Pursuant to the above legislation, the Director of OLAF is supplying such information either on an ad hoc basis, that is as regards the Parliament to the Budgetary Control Committee, or in OLAF's annual activity report for the period 1 June-31 May in which it provides a statistical breakdown of cases that are in evaluation, investigation or closed during that period.
For cases in evaluation, investigation or closed during the period 1 January 2001-31 May 2001, the Commission refers the Honourable Member to OLAF's annual activity report for the period 1 June 2000-31 May 2001. For cases in evaluation, investigation or closed during the period 1 June 2001 to date, the Commission informs the Honourable Member that OLAF's annual activity report for the period 1 June 2001-31 May 2002 will be published in early autumn 2002.
With respect to the Honourable Member's request for the name of the body which is subject to the inquiry and the date, OLAF is unable to provide such information as it may compromise ongoing investigations or prejudice the rights of economic operators and/or individuals, who have been or are being investigated for the detection of irregularities.
In the event that it has been determined that an economic operator has infringed a provision of Community law which has the effect of prejudicing the general budget of the Communities or budgets managed by them, the Member States, on behalf of the Communities, or in case of direct financing, the Commission shall recover the amount unduly paid and may impose, in certain cases, administrative penalties. Furthermore, in accordance with the above regulations, OLAF shall submit the matter to the national competent authorities, which may, eventually, commence criminal proceedings.
(1) OJ L 136, 31.5.1999.