The Attorney General of the Republic assured today that the magistracy he directs responds “present, proactively and committed” to the challenge of preventing fraud with European funds, including the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) or others.
Lucília Gago spoke at a session on the theme “Accountability and democratization of institutions-Prevention of fraud”, which took place at Universidade Nova, in Carcavelos.
The event, which also had the participation of the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, aimed to publicize the projects developed by the reflection group aimed at contributing to a better use of the financial resources of the European Union (EU).
According to the PGR, the financial resources that comprise either the PRR, Portugal 2030 or Portugal 2020 or those that will incorporate the Portuguese State Budget (OE) in these periods, challenge the Public Ministry in this challenge to which it is called to respond with ” absolute rigor and the untouchable probity that the seriousness and uniqueness of the moment demand from everyone”.
Earlier, Lucília Gago acknowledged that, in the context of a “tough social and economic situation resulting from the serious impacts caused by the covid-19 pandemic, there is a serious responsibility to take in hand the financial resources available to open paths for social development, inclusion, solidarity, contributing to a more just, economically and ecologically sustainable country”.
Thus, he promised that the Public Ministry (MP) responds “present, proactively and committed to this challenge” and that “it does so, not only in the predictable aspect of the repressive response, but through an anticipatory contribution, cooperating for an approach preventive of fraudulent or dysfunctional phenomena that may put the pursuit of the objectives associated with public financial resources in crisis” mentioned.
The PGR underlined that it was the assessment of past experiences in the use of EU financial resources and the understanding that “fraud is a holistic phenomenon that refers to the importance of its multidisciplinary approach”, which gave rise to this anti-fraud initiative, whose first year of experience today was marked at the ceremony in Carcavelos.
In this first year, a number of representatives from the Public Prosecutor’s Office, from the PGR’s technical advisory group, as well as European fund control entities, such as the General Inspectorate of Finance, the Agency for Development and Cohesion and the Institute, collaborated in the initiative. of Agriculture and Fisheries Financing.
Also the Court of Auditors and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the Judiciary Police, and related entities such as the Bank of Portugal, the Portuguese Association of Statutory Auditors, representatives of civil society with the Transparency and Integrity association, members from the Academy of various fields of knowledge and from different schools joined the initiative to debate and reflect on the collaborative model of intervention on the phenomenon of fraud with European funds.
The PGR highlighted the importance of the issue under analysis, noting that the Annual Report on the Protection of the Financial Interests of the European Union found, in 2020, that the fraud detected by the European Commission, on the expenditure side alone, totaled 266 million euros, corresponding to to 0.19% of the total value of payments made in that period.
“Adding to this value the irregularities of the same period, also on the expenditure side, 710.6 million euros, corresponding to 0.51% of the payments made in that period, we conclude that a total of 967.6 million euros of expense was wrongly incurred,” continued Lucília Gago.
The PGR also warned in its intervention that fraud “refers necessarily to behaviors in the domain of the opaque, hidden, concealed and of the pacts of silence of the interested parties, always referring empirical observation to an assessment that falls short of its real impact”.
“Although we know that quantified fraud is only a portion of reality with a negative impact on the good execution of public policies associated with the financial resources in question, we recommend that this phenomenon be primarily addressed in a preventive aspect, capable of enhancing the non-occurrence of that result. or mitigating, as much as possible, its verification”, defended the PGR.
Such preventive approach – he stressed – “is in line with the preventive functions of the MP” and the preventive vision and the definition of concrete strategies is “precisely the field of action of this innovative think tank model, defined as “an open and frank space of dialogue and sharing of knowledge, in a diversity of knowledge and institutional cultures, but with a common purpose” of preventing fraud.
“We therefore encourage the think tank[reflection group]to continue its work, directing its action towards robust, consistent, independent contributions that are up to the responsibility of the moment”, concluded Lucília Gago.
Source: Renascença – Noticias by rr.sapo.pt.
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