The Labour MP for Tooting has called for the barring of two of the government’s biggest contractors until they have been given ‘a clean bill of health’, in the wake of accusations he claims have shocked the public.
Last week, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) called in the police to investigate alleged fraudulent behaviour by Serco in relation to its £285 million prison escorting and custodial services contract.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said at the time: “It’s become very clear there has been a culture within parts of Serco that has been totally unacceptable.”
In July, Grayling told MPs that overcharging by G4S and Serco had cost tens of millions of pounds. The Serious Fraud Office was called in to investigate G4S for the overcharging on contracts to electronically tag offenders.
Khan claims it is now “right and proper” that police investigations have begun, adding that reassurances are now needed that no risks have been taken with the public’s safety.
“Back in July when the allegations with electronic tagging first came to light, this government rejected Labour’s calls for all G4S and Serco contracts to be properly audited and to stop G4S and Serco from receiving any more Ministry of Justice contracts until they’d been given a clean bill of health,” he said.
“The Government must urgently do the right thing and rule out awarding any more public money to G4S and Serco until both the National Audit Office and the Serious Fraud Office have published their reports, and the police have concluded their inquiries.
“Anything less than this will lead to the public losing confidence in our justice system’s ability to keep our communities safe.”
Discussing the MoJ decision to launch an investigation into alleged fraudulent behaviour, Serco’s chief executive, Chris Hyman, said: “The Justice Secretary is right to expect the highest standards of performance from Serco. I am deeply saddened and appalled at the misreporting of data by a small number of employees on the contract. This is a very serious matter for the customer and for us.”