OLAF's Response to the Funding for Peace Coalition

by Brad Nielson

April 17, 2005

In March 2005, the European Anti-Fraud Office, OLAF, issued a press release announcing the closure of its "investigation into EU assistance to the Palestinian Authority budget".

The Funding For Peace Coalition (FPC) asked for a copy of the report, believing that it is the public interest that the contents of this critical work should be open to proper scrutiny. Taxpayers must be allowed to assess for themselves the "legal and factual limitations", which prevented OLAF from reaching a verdict after over two years of investions.

OLAF's refusal to present its report is published here. Page 1 Page 2

The FPC finds two major shortcomings with OLAF's position. While OLAF calls for increased transparency surrounding EC and PA reporting techniques, its own work remains shrouded in secrecy. It is not prepared to show what was investigated, how or why. Neither is the public permitted to assess what was not investigated.

While individual privacy and legal considerations should be respected, they must not become a shield behind which bureaucrats are allowed to hide. This is a clear challenge to the authority of MEPs as well as OLAF's moral obligations to voters.

Secondly, OLAF stated in its original press release:

On the basis of the information currently available to OLAF, the investigation has found no conclusive evidence of support of armed attacks or unlawful activities financed by the European Commission's contributions to the budget.

And yet, in its letter to the FPC, OLAF claims that the content of its report may prejudice ongoing investigations and judicial proceedings in member countries. Which judicial proceedings? Is there evidence or not? Exactly who or what is OLAF trying to hide or protect?

The FPC will be using its resources to take these issues up further with the relevant authorities, and urges its friends to do the same.

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