The Treasury will monitor possible family relationships before allocating European funds


At the request of the European Commission, the Tax and Customs Administration strengthens its computer application to detect possible conflicts of interest before the distribution of funds

Ever since the European Commission approved the €750,000 million mega-fund for member states to overcome the pandemic while becoming more resilient in the face of future crises, there have been constant doubts about the projects and the distribution of these disbursements. Especially since, although the tenders are starting to gain momentum, it is proving very difficult to keep track of these funds in the real economy.

From the start of the Next Generation plan, all authorities were clear that they could not allow past mistakes in which fraud or corruption were the main protagonists. For this reason, Brussels had demanded strict control over who and how every penny paid out was spent.

While this control has always been developed with government support, the truth is that the existing gaps and pressure from the Commission have made it necessary to strengthen it. The Government Gazette (BOE) published the Decree on Wednesday that regulates the procedure for analyzing the risk of conflicts of interest in contracts and subsidies of the Recovery Plan ‘ex ante’. In other words, before aid is granted, it will be possible to verify whether there is any form of hidden interest.

The Tax and Customs Administration will use its Minerva tool to carry out this procedure via computer (data) mining. In particular, the decision stipulates that possible “family relationships or business links, direct or indirect, in which there may be a personal or economic interest that may give rise to a conflict of interest, will be analyzed, with the particularity that economic property of the bidders or applicant”.

The order also includes a new model Declaration of Absence of Conflicts of Interest, which will have to be signed by both the persons deciding to award the aid and the applicants, with the true owners of both. In the event that the computer system detects a family or professional relationship, a red flag symbol will appear. From there, the entire investigative process would begin or, in the event of disagreement between the parties, the allegations.

Within these plans to increase the risk of fraud in the distribution of European funds, the Treasury has also created a specialized conflict of interest advisory unit in the General Intervention of the State Administration (IGAE), “which will have between its functions to disseminate good practice to avoid and prevent conflicts of interest or to prepare practical guides on how to identify and deal with situations of conflicts of interest,” they said from the ministry.

Source: La Verdad


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