The fight against corruptionin Italy has always been a great challenge, considering the difficulties inconfronting organized crime, especially the mafia, which has received differentnames depending on the region, such as the Camorra in Naples, the Cosa Nostrain Sicily, and the 'Ndrangheta in Calabria.
However, it was in the last10 years that Italy stood out in the elaboration of a quite robust legal framework against corruption. Italian lawmakers managed to establish thefollowing milestones:
1. Law 116/2009
Ratification of the Merida Convention.
2. Legislative Decree #150, October 27, 2009
Optimization of the productivity of public works and the efficiency and transparency of public administrations.
3. Law #110 June 28, 2012
Ratification and execution of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption held in Strasbourg on January 27, 1999.
4. Law #112 June 28, 2012
Ratification and execution of the Civil Law Convention on Corruption, held in Strasbourg on November 4, 1999.
5. Law #190, November 06, 2012
Provisions for the prevention and repression of corruption and illegality in public administration.
6. Legislative Decree #235, December 31, 2012
Provisions on the matter of non-compliance and prohibition of exercising elective and governmental positions due to definitive penalties for non-negligent crimes, pursuant to Article 1, #63, of law # 190.
7. Legislative Decree #33, March 14, 2013
Reorganization of regulations regarding obligation of publicity, transparency, and disclosure of information by public administrations.
8. Decree of the President of the Republic #62, April 16, 2013
Regulation containing the code of conduct for civil servants, pursuant to Article 54 of legislative decree # 165.
9. Legislative Decree #39, August 04, 2013
Provisions on the non-transferability and incompatibility of positions in the public administration and private entities under public control, pursuant to Article 1, #49 and #50, of Law #190, of November 6, 2012.
10. Law #69, May 27, 2015
Provisions on crimes against the public administration, mafia associations and accounting fraud.
11. Law #3, January 09, 2019
Measures to counteract crimes against the public administration, as well as in the matter of statute of limitations of related crimes and in matters of transparency of political parties and movements.
Let us start, however, withthe NationalAnti-Corruption Authority(ANAC), the functions of which are regulated by decree-law #90 of 2014 and by law #229 of 2016, which can be summarized as follows:
1. Collaboration with similar organizations operating on an international level;
2. Definition of the national anti-corruption plan and supervision of the implementation of the law by public administrations;
3. Analysis of corruption phenomena and presentation of measures to combat them, including through an annual report to the Houses;
4. Advisory opinions on authorizations for the performance of external assignments by administrative managers;
5. High vigilance over the construction of the EXPO 2015 works and on some types of variants allowed by the Public Contract Code. Following the decision of the Council of Ministers of August 27, 2015, the supervisory powers under Article 30 of decree-law #90 were also extended to the extraordinary intervention plan to be adopted on the occasion of the Jubilee (in this sense, ANAC issued specific guidelines indicating the acts subject to control and the procedures to be followed);
6. High surveillance on the implementation of reconstruction interventions in areas affected by the 2016 seismic events.
Indeed, Italy establishes itsmodel for preventing and fighting corruption essentially focusing on threepillars:
1. Anti-corruption plans
3. Impartiality of civil servants
The National Anti-CorruptionPlan stands out as an essential element in the fight against corruption,determining that individual administrations must comply with it, starting withthe approval of the respective three-year corruption prevention plans, whichshould identify the activities with the highest risk of corruption, and thetraining and control measures useful to prevent it. It also appoints a personresponsible for preventing corruption in each public entity, in addition toestablishing protection for public officials who report infringements.Additionally, Law #190/2012 guarantees the confidentiality of investigationreports (Article 54 bis), so as to protect civil servants who are aware ofillegal conduct and report it, due to the working relationship, and cannot bepunished, dismissed, or subjected to discriminatory measures.
Another point to behighlighted is the list of suppliers, introduced by Article 1, paragraphs 52 etseq. of Law #190/2012. The so-called "whitelist" was created in eachcity hall, which included suppliers, service providers, and contractors notsubject to mafia infiltration attempts, serving to certify the absence ofcauses that would prevent participation in the bidding processes and in relatedcontracts.
The matter of transparencywas not forgotten either, since the legislative decree #33 of 2013 guaranteedthe expansion of the right to access deeds and documents held by publicadministrations, thus establishing the obligation of publicity, transparency,and disclosure of information by public administrations.
After discussing the abovepoints, we could not close this article without talking about the changesintroduced more recently by Law #3, January 09, 2019, which brought significantinnovations, as set out below:
The statute of limitations – not just for corruption crimes – will no longer apply after the first instance judgment, whether a judgment or a statute of limitations.
2. Ban from public office
The prohibition of public office remains, even in the case of the offender's rehabilitation, for another seven years. However, a case of pardon is provided for those who collaborate with the courts, provided that a spontaneous confession occurs before the interested party is made aware of an investigation against them and, in any case, within four months from when the crime was committed.
3. Fight against corruption crimes
(i) Permission for the judge, in relation to crimes of corruption, to determine the responsibility of the suspect, despite the statute of limitations for the crime, in order to foresee the extended forfeiture of the money or property resulting from the infraction.
(ii) Use of undercover agents and wiretapping, including through portable electronic devices, in proceedings for crimes against the Public Administration.
4. Transparency of political parties
(i) Political parties and movements participating in the elections of municipalities with more than 15 thousand inhabitants are required to note in a special register the identity of the creditor, the amount of the contribution or the value of the service or other form of support and for each contribution received, as well as the date of disbursement in the following month after receiving it.
(ii) Prohibition on receiving contributions, services or other
forms of support from governments or public bodies of foreign states and legal entities based in a foreign state not subject to tax obligations in Italy.
(iii) The holders of elected and governmental positions, including political party treasurers, must accompany the statement of assets and income with an indication of the amount received for each annual amount higher than 500 Euros, received directly or through support committees.
(iv) The possibility of anonymity for those who make donations to political parties, foundations, or other bodies is eliminated.