Business Irish

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Serco in suspected UK fraud probe

Published 01/09/2013 | 05:00

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A British conglomerate that recently won a multi-billion euro contract with Nama called on the London police last week to investigate alleged fraud in the company.

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The request was made in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice after it emerged that prison escort staff in the firm – Serco – had allegedly defrauded British taxpayers.

The allegations relate to Serco's €333m contract escorting prisoners between court and prison in London and East Anglia. A recent audit of the company by the British government found "some staff recording prisoners as having been delivered ready for court when in fact they were not", according to a Ministry of Justice statement last week.

Last July, Nama awarded Serco a contract to help manage loans with a face value of nearly €2bn. When asked by the Sunday Independent last week if Nama had full confidence in Serco, a spokesman declined to comment.

The claims come barely two months after Serco found itself at the centre of another alleged fraud. In mid-July, the British government accused Serco and the security giant, G4S, of billing the state for electronically tagging prisoners that did not exist.

Serco boss, Chris Hyman, said last week that the company would not tolerate any wrongdoing. "This is why we have referred the matter to the police," said Hyman.

Serco said it found no evidence the alleged fraud took place "with approval of management outside the contract".

Sunday Independent

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