by Ben Vernia | February 28th, 2013
An op-ed in Bucharest, Romania’s financial newspaper, Ziarul Financiar by attorney Cornel Popa titled “Abraham Lincoln, a Solution for Romania,” describes fraud in Romanian government procurement, and proposes a law there based on the U.S. False Claims Act. Mr. Popa writes (translation thanks to bing.com):
For many of us, the name Abraham Lincoln remained associated in history with the Civil War that stopped secession of Southern States of the United States and resulted in the abolition of slavery on American soil. However, there is a less-known legacy of a distinguished American President that we can use as an inspiration to the improvement of the legal framework of the guidance of the public funds.
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The most exciting part of the [False Claims Act] is that relating to the procedure for the submission of applications for repayment of amounts in the budget. Namely the fact that claims may be submitted directly to a court by any person (including individuals). [We will avoid the technical details.] However, note that, after receipt of the complaint by the Court, the U.S. Government has the option to take over the investigation of case, or leaving the plaintiff to continue alone. If the Government wants to dismiss the case, this can be done only with the approval of the Court and with the consent of the Attorney General of the United States. The person who initiates the procedure has the right, according to several criteria, to a percentage, which is usually about a quarter of the amount recovered by the federal budget.
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The legal framework of Romania has not managed to ensure confidence in the fairness of the spending of public money, but Lincoln [might] provide a solution. Of course, what remains to be seen is if Lincoln can be a role model and in the Balkans.