Fraud protocolPreventing fraud and prosecuting it when it occurs is an important item for NL Agency. Every kind of fraud – such as fraudulently obtaining government funding in the form of grants, tax breaks, guarantees or assignments – is unacceptable.
Fraud undermines confidence in the government and the implementing body it has appointed to oversee funding or compliance with environmental and other legislation and regulations. In addition, failure to respond adequately to fraud opens the door to new cases. On 1 June 2003, the Public Administration (Probity in Decision-making) Act (BIBOB) entered into force. The act underlines how important government and parliament consider the curbing of illegal commerce. NL Agency uses this fraud protocol to inform you on the policy it pursues in finding putative fraud.
When there are signs of fraud
When irregularities are observed, NL Agency will investigate the matter. When the matter concerns a grant, the investigation involves both an administrative approach and a criminal prosecution. The administrative approach is the one that NL Agency follows on behalf of the Minister van Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, the Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment or another administrative authority (the entire processing of the application, assessment through decision-making, objection proceedings and appeals, as well as management through adoption). If we learn that an applicant does not do what is stated in the application, this can have consequences for the decision to provide a grant or for the size of the grant. The decision to provide a grant or the size of the grant can be lowered or brought to zero. That means that already paid instalments can be reclaimed. Irregularities can come to light even when the grant amount has been set and paid out. It can be reclaimed in that case as well.
Measures will be taken when fraud is suspected. This will be reported so that the matter can be investigated and sent for criminal prosecution. If needed, issued decisions and inappropriate payments will be reversed. In programmes governed by private law, in which projects are put to tender, we will proceed as described above. The same applies to the implementation of environmental legislation and regulations. In cases where fraud had been perpetrated against another administrative authority, we will consider ourselves bound as government agency to report this to the appropriate regulatory body.
Furthermore, the Public Administration (Probity in Decision-making) Act (BIBOB) offers administrative authorities modalities to refuse or withdraw permits and grants and to refuse to grant government contracts, or to withdraw them, when any association with punishable behaviour on the part of private parties is likely or when the requirement that market parties/contractors be reliable is compromised.
What does NL Agency mean by fraud?
Fraud comes in many shapes and sizes, but at heart it is always the same: people (or organisations) appropriate money or assets to which they have no right, and in doing so, undermine the rights of others. They do this by not carrying out projects while reporting that they have done the work or by claiming expenses that they did not incur. When they do this they harm the government and interfere with others' entitlements.
The Dutch Criminal Code does not define the term fraud, but it centres on matters that we usually call fraud. Think of document forgery, swindling, deceit, cheating the government as creditor or entitled party, corruption, theft and/or embezzlement.
Reporting putative fraud
When you suspect a case of fraud, you can use the following form to report this to NL Agency. Try to make your report as specific as possible. You can also report fraud anonymously. You can simply omit your contact information.
Fraud report form