CORRUPTION AND FRAUD can now be reported via the Internet, even anonymously: A new electronic system – “Fraud Notification System” (FNS) – will make it easier and more secure for vigilant citizens and European Union civil servants to report suspicious cases to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
The new system went online at the beginning of the month and may be accessed via the OLAF website at http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/contact_us/index_en.html
Acting OLAF Director-General, Nicholas Ilett, said that “Citizens and business people frequently ask us how they should go about reporting suspected fraud involving EU funds to us,” adding that “from time to time we also hear from EU civil servants who, despite all the legal guarantees, are cautious about approaching us directly about cases where they suspect corruption is going on”.
“Our new Fraud Notification System should help everybody. First it offers informants a simple user-friendly interface. Second it gives people the opportunity to submit information to OLAF anonymously but nevertheless to enter into a dialogue with our investigators”, explained Mr Ilett.
OLAF has been receiving tip-offs from across Europe via freephone numbers and e-mail for several years.
The new Fraud Notification System extends this service and employs the latest technical safeguards to guarantee informants absolute anonymity while enabling them to enter into dialogue with OLAF investigators if they so wish. No one, either inside or outside OLAF, can discover the identity of anyone who has opted to remain anonymous. The system operates like a ‘blind’ letterbox where both parties can drop off messages.
During a pilot phase the Fraud Notification System is available in English, French, German and Dutch. However, reports can be entered on the online form in any EU language. All the information received by OLAF is carefully examined and professionally scrutinised before it is decided whether or not to initiate an investigation.
Even during a test phase, several tip-offs were communicated via the new system and some of them led to further investigation.
The Fraud Notification System is accessible via OLAF’s website at http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/contact_us/index_en.html