Government turns down G4S’s £24m offer for lag tag errors

Marion Dakers
G4S HAS apologised and offered to give the government a credit note for £24.1m after mistakenly charging for electronic tags on criminals who were released years before, or already in jail, or dead.

However, the Ministry of Justice has so far spurned the offer, and is taking advice from lawyers and auditors to try and get a full refund for the taxpayer.

G4S said it had made the offer after it asked law firm Linklaters to scour company emails and found that “in certain circumstances, G4S wrongly considered itself to be contractually entitled to bill for monitoring services”.

The embattled security firm will face MPs on the public accounts committee today to discuss the overcharging as well as other outsourcing failures.

Chief executive Nick Buckles stepped down last year following the Olympics staffing fiasco, leaving new boss Ashley Almanza to answer questions on why G4S allowed tags to be logged for offenders months and even years after they were released from electronic supervision, or in some cases were never tagged.

In one case listed by the National Audit Office yesterday, G4S charged £4,700 for two and a half years of monitoring on a suspect who was tagged for five weeks before he pleaded guilty.

G4S and fellow tagging firm Serco had contended that until the MoJ formally notified them that a criminal was free of monitoring, they continued to charge fees.

Last week, the Serious Fraud Office opened a criminal investigation into G4S and Serco, following a forensic audit of the service earlier this year.

Capita has been named the preferred bidder to take over electronic tagging next year in a six-year, £400m deal. In the eight years that G4S and Serco ran the service, the MoJ paid out £722m.