UK justice secretary Chris Grayling has asked the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to consider investigating security firm G4S and rival Serco over alleged overcharging for electronically tagging criminals in England and Wales.
Grayling told members of parliament (MPs) that overcharging by the two companies amounted to tens of millions of pounds and included charges were for tagging individuals who were in jail or abroad, and a few who had died.
He added that Serco had agreed to a new ‘forensic audit’ by accountants PwC, but G4S had declined. Both companies have pledged to repay any amount which is found to be due.
G4S responded that it had “co-operated fully” with a previous audit begun by PwC earlier this year and was conducting its own inquiry but was not aware of any indications of dishonesty or misconduct.
Grayling said that current contracts were awarded in November 2004 and were due to expire shortly. Auditors had revealed a “significant anomaly in the billing practices” of both companies.
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Sentiment in the financial services sector deteriorated in the three months to September, as firms digested the challenges of lower interest rates and the uncertainty caused by the vote to leave the European Union (EU), according to the latest CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey.
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