Vatican: A Law on Awards of Contracts to Fight Corruption

July 02, 2020

The Vatican unveiled a law on June 1, 2020 governing awards of contracts for its internal expenses. It’s a first in the Vatican. The aim is to prevent corruption and save money in the midst of the pandemic-related financial crisis.

This law on “Norms on the transparency, control and competition of public contracts of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State” will centralize and plan expenditures, entrusting them to two administrative authorities. In an introductory text, Pope Francis stresses that the law will “significantly reduce the risk of corruption” for all those in decision-making positions.

In particular, the new law provides for the prevention of requests for proposals from people who have been convicted of belonging to criminal organizations, or who have committed tax crimes.

The choice of suppliers must also respond to “ethical principles.” Other rules aim to avoid conflicts of interest concerning the collaborators of the Holy See taking part in decisions.

Giuseppe Pignatone, president of the Vatican Tribunal—a well-known Italian specialist in the fight against the Mafia—appointed in October 2019, reports that the law also aims to achieve “significant savings” through competitive bidding. “The theme of spending reduction is very topical and important at this time—and unfortunately destined to continue—of serious economic difficulties for the whole world, but also for the Holy See and the Vatican City State,” the magistrate emphasized.

According to Vincenzo Buonomo, professor of international law, Vatican Councilor, and quoted by the AFP, the new standards will in this way eliminate the “plague of waste.”

The Holy See (administration of the Universal Church) and the Vatican State (which manages museums, for example) are regularly criticized for the lack of administrative and economic training of certain clergymen at command posts.