Tillväxtverket was hit by a fraudster who sent invoices for the alleged work. The crime shows the importance of having clear procurement procedures that everyone in the organization knows well, writes Ellen Housel-Hildahl, an expert in public procurement.
I read in Dagens Nyheter about a coup against a growth agency that was stripped of $8.3 million.
From the article published in Dagens Nyheter, it appears that last fall the growth agency was hit with a serious scam in which a total of SEK 8.3 million was misappropriated into a bank account in London.
The fraudsters pretended to represent a fictitious company and sent nine invoices for work they were alleged to have done to the Financial Department of the Authority. At the same time, bogus emails were sent, appearing to come from general manager Elisabeth Bachmann, with assurances that payments would be made.
How could this happen? Yes, if you don’t have control over your purchasing action! The article shows that the public prosecutor does not consider himself able to investigate the crime, but that the Swedish Competition Authority has the responsibility to supervise unauthorized direct purchases. Now this issue may have fallen off over time and no charges can be made for purchase damages. However, this still does not detract from the importance of having clear purchasing procedures that everyone in the organization knows well.
Not even the general manager may make unauthorized direct purchases
All authorities, at state, regional and municipal levels, need clear procurement processes in which so-called spending analytics, contract databases, specific call-out procedures and contract follow-up are a matter of course. Had the authority applied these routines, it should have appeared that the company was not included in the contract database where purchased contracts are collected. If the company is not listed in the contract database, an analysis must be made on whether direct purchase is possible and permitted in accordance with the procurement legislation. Not even the general manager may make unauthorized direct purchases.
Swedish companies have long pursued issues of effective public procurement, which amounts to just over SEK 800 billion annually. The savings potential ranges between 5 and 10 percent, depending on the maturity of the organization. This economic potential must be harnessed when the Swedish economy slows down and when the challenges of financing social welfare come under the watchful eye of politicians. Let the agency’s lack of red tape be a lesson to others! Unauthorized direct purchasing leads to higher costs, corruption risks and reduced competitiveness.
Improved public procurement procurement
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