OUTSOURCING firm Serco could face a fraud probe after a government report alleged it was charging for electronically tagging criminals who were either dead, in prison, or had never been tagged.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) yesterday confirmed that the Ministry of Justice has asked it to consider a full-blown investigation into the firm, following issues raised by this summer’s audit of electronic tagging contracts,
Serco’s fellow tagging contract holder G4S was already known to be under investigation by the SFO. Both firms could be excluded from all government contracts as a result of the issue, threatening a major revenue stream.
“We can confirm we are considering the information provided by the Ministry of Justice on the G4S and Serco electronic monitoring contracts. We have no further comment at this time,” the SFO said yesterday.
“We are clear that new business can only be awarded where the integrity of the contracts and the conduct of suppliers can be assured,” the Ministry of Justice said.
Serco said it would co-operate but insisted that it was billing the government in line with accepted practices.