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Security firms G4S and Serco have apologised for overcharging the Government by millions of pounds on contracts for tagging criminals.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has opened a criminal investigation after it emerged G4S and Serco overcharged the Government for tagging offenders, some of whom were found to be dead, back in prison or overseas.
G4S chief executive Ashley Almanza admitted the company failed to "tell the difference between right and wrong" when dealing with its electronic monitoring contracts and apologised to the taxpayer.
The chairman of Serco told MPs that it was "ethically wrong" that his company also overcharged the Ministry of Justice.
Yesterday, the Government rejected a £24 million offer from G4S to settle the row with officials vowing to "pursue all possible avenues" to recoup more taxpayers' cash.
Taxpayers will get "a refund" on the £24 million G4S wrongly charged the Government for monitoring offenders, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
An MoJ spokesman said it was still working with the firms and the independent auditors to work out "what the final sum will be".
The head of G4S is due to appear in front of MPs at the public accounts committee later today:
A private security firm raked in almost £16,000 for a monitoring system that was not even installed, accountants found.
A £2 million audit into the private security firms the Government uses found:
- Serco charged and received £15,500 for an uninstalled monitoring unit for nearly five years.
- G4S netted nearly £4,700 over a three year period for a botched monitoring job.
- Serco billed the MoJ on four separate occasions for the same tag as the offender was under multiple supervision orders.
- There was no evidence G4S had overcharged on any other public service contracts.
MPs are preparing to grill the group chief executive of G4S over the £24 million they admitted overcharging the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for electronic monitoring of offenders.
G4S and fellow contractor Serco are the subject of a criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over the way they operated the contracts.
The Government rejected the private security firm's offer to repay the £24 million yesterday as officials vowed to "pursue all possible avenues" to recoup taxpayer cash.
G4S chief Ashley Almanza said the offer was "an important step in setting this matter straight" and restoring trust.