Fraud threat by G4S and Serco 'diminishes justice'

Prison campaigners have said G4S and Serco should be barred from bidding for government business until a major fraud investigation into their practices has been completed.

G4S and Serco have agreed to repay a total of more than £180 million after overcharging taxpayers over tagging. Credit: PA Wire

Both multinationals are being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and have agreed to repay a total of more than £180 million after it emerged they had overcharged the taxpayer for electronic tagging of criminals.

Two cases that are to be sent to MPs on the Public Accounts Committee include claims that a terminally-ill prisoner was kept waiting in handcuffs for 40 minutes while G4S staff went to a bakery for lunch and allegations that a woman in a Sodexo prison was forced to clean her cell after miscarrying.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: "The possibility of systematic fraud of the public purse on a massive scale by profiting companies diminishes justice."