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Officium Recognitoris Generalis


Reporting procedure according to Article 7 of the
Statutes of the Office of the Auditor General


On 19 September 2016, the Holy See, acting also in the name of and on behalf of Vatican City State, adhered to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (known as the Mérida Convention), with the intention of “contributing to and giving moral support to the global prevention, repression and persecution of such crimes”.[1]

The Convention provides that “each State Party shall consider … establishing measures and systems to facilitate the reporting by public officials of acts of corruption to appropriate authorities, when such acts come to their notice in the performance of their functions[2] and “shall consider incorporating into its domestic legal system appropriate measures to provide protection against any unjustified treatment for any person who reports in good faith and on reasonable grounds to the competent authorities any facts concerning offences established in accordance with this Convention”.[3]

In accordance with the above, the Statutes of the Office of the Auditor General ("OAG"), which entered into force on February 16th 2019, provides in Article 7 § 1 that the Auditor General is an addressee of reports made by persons who become aware of them in the performance of their duties on particular situations related to: anomalies in the use or allocation of financial or material resources; irregularities in the granting of contracts or in the conduct of transactions or disposals; acts of corruption or fraud.[4]

The Auditor General’s role as addressee of reports is confirmed by the recent Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium which, at Art. 224 § 2, attributes to the Auditor General the task of examining reports and subsequently presenting them with a written report to the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy and, should it be deemed necessary, also to the Cardinal Coordinator of the Council for the Economy.

Purpose of the document

The present document has the purpose of providing indications on how the aforementioned reports are to be sent, and on their management on the part of the OAG.

Reporting to the OAG does not replace, where the prerequisites are met, the obligation to report facts or circumstances that are potentially criminally relevant to the Vatican Judicial Authority.

Reporting Parties (“Whistleblowers”)

Art. 7 § 1 of the OAG Statutes provides for the sending of reports "from persons who in the course of their own work become aware of particular situations".

By way of example and without limitation, whistleblowers include:

a) members, officials and employees of the various Curial Institutions and Institutions linked to them, and of Vatican City State;

b) Pontifical Legates and diplomatic personnel of the Holy See;

c) persons who perform functions of representation, administration or management, as well as those who exercise, even de facto, the management and control, of the Institutions directly dependent on the Holy See and registered in the register of juridical persons held at the Governorate of the Vatican City State;

d) collaborators and advisers of Vatican City State, the Holy See and all the Institutions, Bodies and Entities connected to it or that refer to it, with any type of assignment or contract;

e) any natural person who is a client, supplier, contractor or subcontractor; or employee or collaborator of companies that have relations with the Vatican City State, the Holy See or with Institutions, Bodies and Entities connected to it or that refer to it;

f) any other person who holds, even de facto, an administrative or judicial mandate in the Holy See or in the Vatican City State, on a permanent or temporary basis, remunerated or free of charge, regardless of hierarchical level.

The subject of reports

Reports may concern particular situations related to:

§ anomalies in the use or allocation of financial or material resources;

§ irregularities in the award of contracts or in the performance of transactions or disposals;

§ acts of corruption or fraud.

Reports may therefore concern improper conduct that represents a threat or damage to the common good. Such conduct may include, by way of example and not limited to: accounting irregularities, false statements; as well as conduct aimed at obstructing the submission of reports, violating the relevant obligations of professional secrecy or discriminating against the whistleblower.

The information reported may relate to events that have occurred or are likely to occur.

Whistleblowers must have reasonable grounds to believe, in the light of the circumstances or the information available at the time of reporting, that the facts reported are true.

Reports to the OAG must not regard grievances of a personal nature on the part of the whistleblower, or claims that fall within the discipline of the employment relationship or relations with the hierarchical superior or colleagues, for which reference should be made to the rules and procedures in force.

Elements and characteristics of the report

The report can be presented to the Auditor General in writing or orally.

In the report, the following essential elements must be indicated:

§ the name, surname, personal data and contact details (email address, place of residence, domicile, workplace) of the whistleblower;

§ the facts that are the subject of the report, indicating the Curial Institution or Entity to which it refers.

Reports submitted anonymously will not be followed up in accordance with this procedure. The Auditor General shall file the anonymous reports received.

The whistleblower can indicate:

§ how the fact/situation came to their knowledge;

§ the persons involved in the subject being reported;

§ the circumstances of time and place in which the fact was committed;

§ the persons potentially aware of the facts;

§ any other information useful for reconstructing the reported facts.

It is desirable for reports to be accompanied by documentation.

Protection of the whistleblower

§ The Auditor General shall safeguard the confidentiality, integrity and safety of reports, and guarantees in particular the confidentiality of the whistleblower’s identity.

The identity of the whistleblower can be revealed only to the Vatican Judicial Authority when the latter, in a reasoned decision, states that it is necessary for the purposes of investigation or judicial activity.

The prohibition to disclose the identity of the whistleblower refers not only to the name of the latter, but also to all the elements of the report, including the documentation attached to it, insofar as their disclosure, even indirectly, might allow the identification of the whistleblower.

All those involved in analyzing the reports received, in any capacity whatsoever, are bound by official secrecy.

§ Reports made in good faith to the Auditor General, pursuant to Art. 7 § 3 of the OAG's Statutes, do not give rise to any liability for breach of official secrecy or any other constraints on disclosure that may be imposed by legal, administrative or contractual provisions.

Phases in the procedure of handling reports

The procedure for handling reports is divided into the following phases:

a) Receipt and registration of the report;

b) Preliminary assessment of the report;

c) Preliminary investigation phase;

d) Outcome of the preliminary investigation;

e) Preservation of documentation.

a) Receipt and registration of the report

The procedure starts with the receipt of the report.

In the case of written submissions, the report, duly signed, shall be forwarded to the OAG by

ordinary mail, registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, or hand delivery, to the address:

Auditor General
Office of the Auditor General
Largo del Colonnato, 3
00120 Vatican City

or by email to the dedicated mailbox:

Each report is assigned a unique progressive code, recording the date and time of receipt and the channel through which it was received.

In order to guarantee confidentiality, in the event of transmission by ordinary mail, registered mail with notice of receipt or by hand delivery to the head office, the report should be placed in a sealed envelope and addressed to the Auditor General, clearly marked “Riservato” or “Riservato Solo Mani Proprie” ("Confidential") or "Confidential Only".

Again, in order to guarantee the confidentiality of the whistleblower, in the case of transmission by e-mail, the document containing the report should be included as an attachment to the e-mail message, together with any other documents that should be sent with the report; the subject of the e-mail should be clearly marked "Confidential".

In order to support whistleblowers in the preparation of complete reports, containing all the necessary elements for their analysis, the OAG may prepare a "report form" which may be used, in paper or electronic format, for the transmission of information to the OAG.

The form may also provide for the transmission of attached documents, useful for the description of the reported facts or as evidence of the same.

Although the use of the form is highly recommended, the report, with any attached documents, may also be transmitted in a different format from the form, provided that it is signed and contains the essential elements indicated above.

Oral reports are possible, upon request by the whistleblower, via a direct meeting or video conference with the Auditor General, which shall be organized no later than twenty working days after the request.

No later than thirty days after receiving the report received by mail, either ordinary or electronic, the OAG shall inform the whistleblower in writing of the receipt of the report.

The report is first subjected to a preliminary analysis aimed at assessing the existence of the minimum admissibility requirements.

b) Preliminary evaluation of the report

Once the report has been received, the Auditor General shall identify the persons within his office who will support him in the analysis of the report.

No later than thirty days after receiving the report via mail, ordinary or electronic, the OAG shall inform the reporting person in writing of the receipt of the report.

The report will first be subjected to a preliminary analysis aimed at assessing the existence of the minimum admissibility requirements.

The report will be considered inadmissible in the following cases

i. anonymous form of the report or lack of personal data enabling the reporter to be identified with certainty;

ii. lack of data constituting essential elements of the report;

iii. grievances of a personal nature or claims falling within the scope of the employment relationship;

iv. absence of factual elements capable of justifying investigation;

v. generic content of the report not permitting comprehension of the facts;

vi. production of documentation only, in the absence of a report of unlawful conduct or irregularities;

vii. lack of competence of the OAG on the matters reported.

Before pronouncing on admissibility, the OAG, where it deems it appropriate, may request additional elements from the whistleblower.

c) Preliminary investigation phase

If, following the preliminary analysis, the reports acquired are deemed admissible, the OAG shall proceed to examine them, initiating its own preliminary investigation activities. The examination activities may entail, in addition to dialogue with the whistleblower through computer channels or in person, the hearing of other persons involved in the reported facts, or the acquisition of deeds or documents from the offices involved, or even the involvement in support of the activities of persons from other offices of the administration or external persons, always taking care that the protection of the confidentiality of the reporting person and of the reported person is not compromised.

Should the involvement of any consultants external to the OAG be necessary, the OAG shall not forward the report, but only the results of any checks carried out, and, where appropriate, carefully anonymized extracts of the report, taking the utmost care to ensure that the information and facts described do not reveal the identity of the whistleblower.

d) Outcome of the investigation phase

Should the competence of other Authorities emerge from the examination activity, the OAG shall promptly transmit the report to the competent Authority, notifying the whistleblower in a timely fashion.

In this case, in view of its responsibility for the protection of the whistleblower’s identity, the OAG shall specify that it is a report received pursuant to Article 7 of the OAG Statutes and that, therefore, every precaution shall be taken in the management process in order to preserve the confidentiality, integrity and security of the reports, and to guarantee in particular the confidentiality of the whistleblower’s identity.

If, on completion of the checks for which it is responsible, the OAG considers that the reports are unfounded, it shall file them.

After examining the reports, the Auditor General shall submit them with a report to the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy and, if he deems it necessary, also to the Cardinal Coordinator of the Council for the Economy. However, the obligation to report to the Judicial Authority remains, in accordance with Art. 4 § 3 c) of the Statutes of the OAG.

The OAG shall inform the author of the report in writing of the decisions taken within three months from the date of the notice of receipt of the report. The time limit of three months may be extended by another three months in duly justified cases. In this latter case, the whistleblower will be informed of the extension at the end of the first three months.

e) Conservation of documentation

The Auditor General shall guarantee the conservation of the documentation by applying the provisions of Article 10 of the URG Statutes and the Motu Proprio "La Cura vigilantissima" of  March, 21st, 2005.

Final dispositions

This procedure shall enter into force on February 1st, 2024 and shall be published by posting it in the San Damaso Courtyard, and it shall be given adequate publicity through the institutional pages of the Office of the Auditor General and the Labour Office of the Apostolic See.


[1] Act of adhesion of the Holy See to the Mérida Convention.

[2] Mérida Convention, art. 8 § 4.

[3] Mérida Convention, art. 33

[4] Internationally, a "whistleblower" is the person who reports known wrongdoing or irregularities in the course of his or her work to persons expressly dedicated to dealing with reporting such wrongdoing or irregularities, either internally or externally to the organization concerned. In this sense, also Article 7 § 2 of the Statutes of the OAG, in regulating the protection of the confidentiality of the notifying subject, refers to the notifying subject as "whistleblower".