Integrity in Public Tendering ProceduresIn recent years, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service has given high priority to the combat of undermining activities by organised crime. These activities are considered as undermining if they harm the integrity and effectiveness of government institutions. Various countries (Canada, Italy, the United States) have found that organised crime can significantly affect the integrity of government decisions, and more specifically that of decision making in public tendering procedures. Organised crime manifests itself in the corruption or threatening of civil servants, administrators and politicians who are involved in the decision-making processes regarding public tendering procedures and public contracts. This allows organised crime to play a ‘regulatory’ role, by agreeing pricing and work arrangements with companies that participate in these public tendering procedures, trying to win government contracts. In such circumstances, market forces in public tendering procedures are frustrated.
In Italy various research projects have been conducted in recent decades, analysing how the Mafia proved capable of manipulating these tendering procedures, thus withdrawing funds from the state treasury. The relevant rules seem to have become more resistant to abuse however, which raises the question of whether the influence of organised crime on the outcome of public tenders in Italy has decreased. In the morning session of this seminar, researchers from North and South Italy will address this question. They will also discuss the conditions in which organised crime can control public decision making.
In the afternoon session, speakers will address the situation in the Netherlands. Is the integrity of public tendering procedures affected by the existence of organised crime? What have we learned from the comprehensive parliamentary inquiries into the nature and scope of the Dutch ‘Construction Fraud’? What safeguards are currently in place to protect the integrity of public decision making? And do recent cases (such that of Mr Hooijmaijers, former member of the Provincial Executive in the province of North Holland, and the corruption investigation regarding Mr Van Rey, former alderman in Roermond) give us reason to assume that the integrity of public decision makers is under pressure?