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Anti-corruption authority will keep tab on post-quake reconstruction

by Giuseppe Latour

The National Anti-Corruption Authority (ANAC) will take a deeper look at the earthquake-hit regions in central Italy. Yesterday, ANAC officially announced its involvement. The authority will not only monitor the reconstruction, under a plan that still needs to be defined, but will also analyze the construction process of the past several years, looking into now public funds were assigned and spent since the earthquake of 1997. The authority will work with the anti-corruption corps of Italy’s tax police.

The most relevant case concerns the school of Amatrice, (one of the towns at the epicenter of the earthquake of August 24, Ed’s note). The authority will expand the investigation in the next hours, analyzing all suspicious contracts.

ANAC clarified that the deputy mayor of Amatrice is not under investigation. The agency does not focus on single individuals, but works on relevant contracts and works. This is the approach used. Yesterday, the authority decided to activate the memorandum of understanding signed in 2015 with the tax police.

Article 5 of the agreement allows ANAC President Raffaele Cantone to write to the chief of the anti-corruption police force to ask for details and documents on specific issues. This is what happened, in connection with the force led by General Gaetano Scazzero.

The main case concerns the Amatrice school. Tax police will seize all documents related to the contracts for the renovation of the facility, which crumbled in the earthquake. The authority will then look into how the contracts were assigned.

The activity will not stop there. The idea is to extend the agency’s review to all dubious cases, while prosecutors continue their own investigation. The cases of the Bell Tower and the police barracks in Accumoli, as well as the church buildings secured in the past years and damaged by the quake, will be analyzed. Controls will concern the bidding process, but also the execution of projects, and especially inspections.

A first meeting on how to proceed will take place today, when Cantone will chair the first meeting of the board after the summer break. Officially, the agenda is unrelated to the earthquake: the authority will follow up on ordinary administrative issues. In reality, the disaster will also be discussed, both in terms of monitoring the reconstruction efforts and, more urgently, of looking into the mistakes done after the 1997 earthquake.


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