World Bank and OLAF step up efforts to jointly combat fraud and corruption in development aid

European Union Enhanced operational cooperation is at the centre of a new Cooperation Arrangement signed today in Brussels between the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the World Bank’s Integrity Vice-Presidency (INT). The new Arrangement is a first step towards enhanced cooperation between the two services that was agreed between their leaders within the context of the 12th Conference of International Investigators hosted by the World Bank in Washington in May 2011.

“The European Union and its Member States is the world’s largest donor of development aid. The World Bank is an important player in this field and the trustee of a large part of EU funds. In times of economic crisis, it’s all the more important that we strengthen cooperation between investigative services to prevent fraud and ensure that every cent of international funds reaches the intended beneficiaries,” said OLAF Director-General Giovanni Kessler.

Mr Leonard McCarthy, World Bank Integrity Vice President is paying a two-day visit to Brussels. The main purpose of his visit is to reinforce the existing cooperation with OLAF by further developing the exchange of information between the two services and signing a new Administrative Cooperation Arrangement. Mr McCarthy is also meeting Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner responsible for anti-fraud, Brian Gray, the Director General of the Commission’s Internal Audit Service, and Pierre Amilhat, the Director of Resources of EuropeAid.

“The World Bank’s alliance with OLAF is strong, more so in the light of OLAF’s role in protecting the European Union’s budget of €130 billion and because of our shared interest in combatting illegal activities. OLAF is one of our primary partners in the fight against corruption. This agreement enables us to take our cooperation to the next level, through joint investigations, strategic analysis and a greater focus on criminal organisations,” said Leonard McCarthy during his visit.

The new Cooperation Arrangement between OLAF and INT will enable the two investigation offices to work more closely throughout the whole investigative cycle by means of a more rapid and more targeted information exchange. It will enable investigators to conduct joint investigations where both the financial interests of the European Union and the World Bank are at stake. It will also allow the two services to exchange staff and to cooperate in the field of training.

Background

The Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) has a critical role in the World Bank Group’s Governance and Anti-corruption strategy, aimed at protecting against corruption, building project integrity into operations, and assisting client countries strengthen governance policies.

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) investigates fraud against the EU budget, corruption and serious misconduct within the European institutions, and develops anti-fraud policy for the European Commission.

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