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Amsterdam’s recent efforts to curtail coffee shops, clean up its Red Light District, and even fight the Hell’s Angels, are aided by the so-called BIBOB law, which went into effect on June 1, 2003.

As from today, Dutch administrative authorities may refuse contracts, subsidies or permits for organisations and companies if they have serious doubts about the integrity of the relevant applicant. On 1 June, the Public Administration Probity in Decision-Making Act (BIBOB) entered into force. In addition to relying on their own enquiries, the authorities may henceforth use the BIBOB Bureau of the Ministry of Justice to seek further advice on the applicant requesting the service.

Administrative authorities having to decide on whether to grant a permit, subsidy or building contract to an organisation or a company now have the option to refuse this if they suspect that the service to be provided is being used for criminal objectives. In doing so, the government avoids aiding criminals or criminal organisations. To that end, the administrative authority will have to conduct an integrity assessment using its own information as well as public sources such as the Chamber of Commerce.

If it is deemed appropriate, the administrative authority may also ask the BIBOB Bureau for advice. This Bureau has access to secured sources such as the police files and the Tax and Customs Administration. The BIBOB Bureau,which is part of the Ministry of Justice, not only inspects the antecedents of the applicant, but also checks his or her immediate environment such as other persons in leading positions in the relevant organisation and business relationships. This may result in a recommendation about the degree of risk – none, some or high – which the administrative authority runs in unintentionally aiding criminals if the service is to be granted.

The Bureau is also responsible for providing information about the effect and implementation of the Act.

The BIBOB Act applies to the national authority, provincial authorities, municipal authorities, local water boards, police forces and independent administrative authorities that award certain tendering procedures. Some examples are the Informatie Beheer Groep, Sociale Verzekeringsbank (social insurance agency), NS Railinfrabeheer, Chambers of Commerce, Nederlandsche Bank, Central Body for Asylum Seekers Accommodation, inspection services and health insurance funds. As regards the tenders, the Act is limited to the Construction, ICT and Environment (waste treatment) line of business; as regards permits to the Construction, Hotel and Catering, professional transport,coffee shops and smart shops, sex establishments and escort services, amusement arcades, opium exemptions and housing corporations. As far as subsidies are concerned, each subsidy scheme may specify separately that the BIBOB Act is applicable.
– Source: More government control on integrity of organisations and companies, Press Release, June 2, 2003, Netherlands Justice Department

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