Vatican’s new corruption scandal: Police raid St Peter’s Basilica offices, seize documents and computers as part of investigation into corruption

    02-Jul-2020   
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Documents and computers are seized from the department in charge of maintenance and restoration at St Peter's Basilica
 
Vatican police have raided the department in charge of maintenance and restoration at St Peter's Basilica, seizing documents and computers as part of an investigation into possible corruption in procurement practices.
 
The raid comes a month after the Vatican published new procurement rules intended to prevent corruption and cut costs.
 
The Holy See Press Office said that police had acted under orders from Vatican prosecutors in response to a report by the city state’s auditor general. A statement from the Vatican press office said the material was seized from the technical and administrative offices of the Fabbrica di San Pietro.
 
According to reports, Vatican magistrates ordered the raid following a tip from the office of the general auditor, the statement said, without giving details. It said Pope Francis appointed a commissioner to run the department temporarily.
 
The commissioner was tasked with reorganising the department and updating its statutes in the wake of a June 1 papal document that introduced sweeping new rules for procurement and spending to reduce the risk of corruption in awarding contracts, reported Reuters.
 
Reports suggest that the statement specifically mentioned the new rules, which suggested Tuesday's raid may have something to do with the awarding of a contract.
 
Last year, Pope Francis had admitted there is financial corruption in the Vatican, describing it as a "scandal". The pope's statement marked the first time he has acknowledged corruption in Vatican finances. "There is corruption, it's clear. With the interrogations, we will see if they are guilty or not. It is an ugly thing, it's not nice for this to happen in the Vatican," Francis said during an in-flight press conference on the way back from Japan in November 2019.
 
The Vatican, last month, had introduced a new law aimed at boosting transparency in tenders and cutting costs through competitive bidding. The legislation brought the Holy See in line with international standards. The changes will "significantly reduce the danger of corruption", Francis said in his written introduction to the law.