Anti-Fraud participates in the 18th European Week of Regions and Cities where debates about the comprehensive strategy to fight corruption in Catalonia and the specific recommendations to avoid risks of fraud during COVID-19 have taken place

The Deputy Director of the Anti-Fraud Office, Joan Xirau, participates in the online workshop "Anti-Fraud Strategies and the Regions" organized by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)

Joan Xirau participates in the online workshop "Anti-Fraud Strategies and the Regions"

October 13, 2020. The Deputy Director of the Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia, Joan Xirau, took part this morning in the online workshop “Anti-Fraud Strategies and the Regions” organized by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in the framework of the 18th European Week of Regions and Cities of the European Commission. Xirau explained Anti-Fraud Office’s contribution to the creation of an integrity policy to fight corruption in Catalonia, and the specific recommendations for emergency public procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Xirau began his contribution by explaining the Strategy for the fight against corruption and the strengthening of public integrity carried out by the Catalan Government. The Deputy Director also emphasized the preventive nature of this strategy, which he described as "possibilistic", and that “the process to develop this strategy has been truly participatory. Various actors have been involved: academics, specialists, institutions and civil society".

The Deputy Director presented the analysis document Proposals from the Anti-Fraud Office for an Integrity Policy in Catalonia (in Spanish) and highlighted the preventive measures that the institution has proposed in various spheres of action. Xirau said it is still too early to assess the impact of this strategy because the government approved it earlier this year and it has recently received the 1st half-yearly implementation report. The Anti-Fraud Office has made its own considerations in a report (in Catalan).

Xirau continued by talking about how COVID-19 has affected this comprehensive strategy to fight corruption and fraud. The Deputy Director of the Office recalled that at the time of planning and initiating the strategy, the pandemic was not yet present, but that it had affected its development. However, he emphasized that Anti-Fraud has prepared the paper Risk prevention in the exercise of public authority during the COVID-19 crisis with recommendations, reminders and resources for promoting integrity during the pandemic.

Joan Xirau explained that this document is based on three main ideas:

  1. In extraordinary situations of increasing public spending as a matter of urgency, the risk of corruption increases and extraordinary control measures are needed.
  2. Transparency and accountability is the best way to tackle corruption risks. Institutions are recommended to create a specific web portal on actions related to COVID-19.
  3. Real-time monitoring is needed to prevent risk situations.

The Deputy Director of the Office closed his presentation by saying that Anti-Fraud is carrying out investigations related to the misuse of the emergency procedure in public procurement related to COVID-19.

Video of the intervention of the Deputy Director of the Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia, Joan Xirau, in the workshop “Anti-Fraud Strategies and Regions” of OLAF during the 18th European Week of Regions and Cities: