Pope Francis Introduces New Procurement Law Aimed to Reduce Graft

Published: 02 June 2020

Pope FrancisPope Francis is determined to fight corruption. (Photo: Benhur Arcayan)

By Zdravko Ljubas

Pope Francis introduced new procurement rules that are supposed to prevent corruption by introducing more transparency in tender procedures at the Vatican which saw a series of graft  scandals in the past.

The Apostolic Letter published on Monday contains an edict  -- Motu Proprio -- composed of 86 articles with an additional 12 relating to juridical protection in cases of litigation. The new law is in harmony with the UN Convention Against Corruption, according to the Vatican News.

The global economy and increased interdependence have brought to the fore the possibility of achieving significant cost savings through the work of multiple suppliers of goods and services, the pope said in his letter.

“For the purposes of enabling a more effective management of resources, I have therefore decided to approve a set of rules aimed at fostering transparency, control and competition in the procedures for the awarding of public contracts stipulated on behalf of the Holy See and Vatican City State,” wrote the Pope.

Furthermore, he added, “the operativity of the entire system will constitute an obstacle to restrictive agreements and will make it possible to considerably reduce the danger of corruption of those called upon to govern and manage the bodies of the Holy See and the Vatican City State.”

Companies and entities which supply goods, services, and public works will be guaranteed “equal treatment and the possibility of participation through a special Register” and special procedures.

The Vatican News cited the President of the Vatican Tribunal, Giuseppe Pignatone, as saying that the new legislation incorporates internationally-recognized best practices, “in order to achieve significant cost savings, efficient resource management, and a renewed commitment against the risk of corruption.”

In October last year Pope Francis appointed Pignatone, one of Italy’s top anti-mafia prosecutors, to head its criminal tribunal, just days after raids were carried out in the Holy See over alleged financial wrongdoing.

A month later, the pope commented on the financial scandals linked to the Vatican Bank and the US$200 million investment in luxury properties in London’s Chelsea neighborhood. He called the existing corruption “a scandal.”

Earlier this year the pointif said that “corruption is worse than sin,” urging Christians to stay close to the Holy Spirit because the worldly spirit leaves them unable to separate good from bad and makes them prone to graft.