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Countryside Management Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999

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Withholding and recovery of grant

10.—(1) Where any person, with a view to obtaining the payment of grant under these Regulations to himself or any other person, makes any statement or furnishes any information which is false or misleading, the Department may withhold the whole or any part of any payments of grant payable thereunder to that person or to such other person and may, subject to the provisions of Article 20 of the Commission Regulation (which provides for recovery of wrongful payments with interest, a penalty system and exclusion for false declarations), recover the whole or any part of any sums already paid by way of grant thereunder to that person or such other person.

(2) Where an applicant—

(a)has failed to do something which he undertook to do if the grant was made, or

(b)is in breach of any conditions subject to which the grant was made,

the Department may withhold the whole or any part of any grant payable to that applicant under these Regulations and may recover the whole or any part of any grant already paid to him.

(3) Before withholding or recovering any grant under paragraph (1) or (2) or under regulation 8(8), the Department shall—

(a)give to the applicant a written explanation of the reasons for the proposed withholding or recovery;

(b)afford the applicant an opportunity of appearing before and being heard by a person appointed for that purpose by the Department; and

(c)consider the report by the person so appointed and supply a copy of the report to the applicant.

(4) Where the Department withholds or recovers grant under paragraph (2), it may also, in so far as is consequent upon Article 20(2) of the Commission Regulation (which requires Member States to determine a system of penalties which are effective, commensurate with their purpose and of adequate deterrent effect to be imposed for breaches of undertakings), require the applicant to pay to the Department a sum equal to no more than 10% of the grant paid or payable to the applicant under these Regulations.

(5) Where the Department takes any step specified in paragraph (1), (2) or (4) it may also treat as terminated the undertaking given by the applicant under these Regulations.

(6) Where under paragraph (5) the Department treats the undertakings given by the applicant as terminated, it may also, insofar as is consequent upon Article 20(2) of the Commission Regulation, by notice in writing to the applicant prohibit him from providing a new undertaking or entering a new agreement under an agri-environment scheme for such period (not exceeding two years) from the date of that termination as is specified in the notice.

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