Under this Offices there is the General Prosecutor of the Corte dei conti in Rome and the Regional Prosecutors before the Regional Jurisdictional Chambers, having territorial competence for the specific Region.
The Corte dei conti has approximately 90 deputy and assistant prosecutors.
Public prosecutors are independent of other prosecutors. Between the various Prosecution Offices at regional level and the General Prosecution Office in Rome there is not a hierarchical link but the latter is the top institution of the prosecuting as well as the Chambers of Appeal and the United Chambers are the top institution of the judiciary.
Only the Public Prosecutors at the Regional Chambers of the Corte dei conti can bring liabilities’ actions before the Jurisdictional Chambers of the Corte. Complaints are the basis for their activities. In this regard:
- Competent authorities are subject to several specific obligations to report losses of public funds to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office, in cases where public officials are involved;
- Reports of investigations held by the Italian Financial Police or other Police Corps;
- Complaints submitted by public bodies and accounting bodies, such as accountants and internal auditors;
- Complaint from any other sources: politicians, citizens, anonymous, whistle-blowers, press articles, etc.
- Notices from the Criminal Prosecution Office. The Criminal Prosecutor has the duty to report to the Regional Prosecution Office of the Corte dei conti of any investigation or case which allegedly caused a loss to public funds.
On the other side, in cases of alleged corruption or other criminal infringements, the Public Prosecutor at the Corte dei conti has to report the notice to the Criminal Prosecutor Office while maintaining the respective independence of their investigations, investigative secret and powers to bring an action.
In an application for damages brought by one of the Public Prosecutor at the Corte dei conti (an indictment contained in a writ of summons), at the end of its investigation proceedings, the accused person can be held liable only if all the following conditions are satisfied as regards the illegality/unlawfulness of the allegedly wrongful conduct or omission:
- The actual harm suffered by the budgets/resources of the State or of a public body (including European Union’s funds);
- The causal link between the act and the damage alleged to have been suffered; § The fraud or gross negligence of the accused person. Negligence is not enough;
- A “qualified relationship” – an employment relationship, an empowerment, an affiliation or an ad hoc connection – between the damaged public body and the alleged responsible of the damage. Private persons and undertakings can be accused if they enter into this “qualified relationship.” They operate in the public interest using public resources.
The conditions giving rise to the accounting liability are cumulative, which means that, if one of them is not met, the liability of the accused person does not arise. The burden of proving that all those conditions have been met falls to the public prosecutor.