117 cases of fraudulent, irregular use of EU funds detected in Malta

More than 52,000 similar irregularities detected across EU

Olaf, the EU anti-fraud watchdog, reported on fraud for structural, investment and agricultural funds.

Olaf, the EU anti-fraud watchdog, reported on fraud for structural, investment and agricultural funds.

More than 100 cases of fraudulent or irregular use of EU funds were detected in Malta over the last legislature, according to anti-fraud investigators.

Olaf, the European Commission’s anti-fraud office, reported that the Maltese authorities had detected 117 cases of fraud or irregularities in the management of the EU’s structural, investment and agricultural funds between 2013 and last year.

More than 52,000 similar irregularities were detected across the EU in that period.

The irregularities that were detected in Malta represented more than two per cent of the funding payments, the sixth highest in the EU.

Olaf also said that it had uncovered another case of potential fraud in the use of EU funds on the island in the period under review. No more details were available.

Irregularities in Malta were at the sixth highest rate in the EU

The report said the watchdogs’s investigations were making an important contribution to recovering EU revenue and funds that had been defrauded or irregularly spent. Six cases were brought before the Maltese judicial system following recommendations it sent to the authorities, the report said.

Financial recommendations are made by Olaf to EU institutions or national authorities providing or managing EU funds. The aim is to recover as much in defrauded funds to the EU budget as possible.

The sum recommended by Olaf to each member state for recovery each year depends on the scope and scale of the investigations concluded in that year.

The Olaf report points out that the amount of “recommended recoveries” is not an indication of the overall fraud level in Europe and is tied to the number of investigations the office carries out in a given year.

Following the investigations it concluded in 2017, Olaf recommended the recovery of more than €3 billion to the EU budget. The sum is significantly higher than in previous years because of the conclusion of large-scale investigations, mostly linked to Customs fraud.

Olaf is not itself responsible for the recovery of the funds. This is done by the authorities at the EU and member state level.

Money is retrieved from the beneficiaries of the funds, national managing authorities or paying agencies in different ways, including direct recovery, offsetting, deduction, de-commitment, programme closure or clearance of accounts.

Comments not loading? We recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox with javascript turned on.
Comments powered by Disqus