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State research board spent millions on parties

Published: 14 Aug 2012 08:55 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Aug 2012 08:55 GMT+02:00

“We made a mistake,” Ulla-Britt Fräjdin-Hellqvist, Chairman of the SSF said to the TT news agency.

The revelations come just weeks after the news that the Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (Tillväxtverket) had spent millions on expensive internal entertainment, causing its director general, Christina Lugnet, to be relived of her duties.

The foundation gave 9.3 million kronor to party organizer Michael Bindefeld over the course of three years, but it remains unclear exactly what the money has gone towards, the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN) revealed on Tuesday.

The foundation’s 15th year celebration was celebrated in Stockholm’s City Hall, with the Nobel Banquet as a model, and boasted over 500 invited guests including politicians, journalists, directors and governors.

The contract with Bindefeld has been put in question, and foundation head Lard Rask explained that he regretted that he never warned the board of the need to put the contract out to tender.

“We live in a grey area between private and public. But if you look at the existing laws it’s crystal clear, I think it’s crystal clear in any case, that one should put it out to tender,” Rask told the paper.

The payment, which according to DN was only mentioned “in passing” during 2009’s annual report, was labelled as “MBAB information project”.

Fräjdin-Hellqvist admits that the foundation has failed.

“We were wrong not to have put the contract out to tender. We will now go through all the facts that DN published and see what failed and after that we will decide on action. It will go at lightning speed, we started as early as yesterday,” she told the TT news agency.

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Your comments about this article

10:51 August 14, 2012 by azimuth
So this is how my taxes are used?!!! Damn you!
11:04 August 14, 2012 by Borilla
This is what happens when the political establishment loses touch with the people. More career pols who have lived their lives on the public's money. More career pols who will go on the shelf for a while and then be rehabilitated and put back in charge of the public's money. As long as the fox is watching the hen house, this will continue to happen.
12:04 August 14, 2012 by McChatter
Oink! Oink!
12:27 August 14, 2012 by Scepticion
I think it's rampant in Sweden, both in public institutions and private business. Never seen a country where you have so many conference venues catering to meetings (some real though), bonding, personal improvement, etc. etc..
14:13 August 14, 2012 by muscle
Well.. they were conducting research into ways for making a party expensive! :)
14:45 August 14, 2012 by Rishonim
foundation head Lard Rask. This guy has quite an amusing name. Lard....
18:15 August 14, 2012 by dammen
Shameful in the least

What a role model to set for the rest of the country -it is OK to cheat and not be honest (given the latest news of the 600000:- Christmas party not being registered as such in the books).

What happens if the rest of us do this - or is it a case of one rule for us and one rule for the others.

And I help subsidize this through my taxes!

No wonder Sweden is in the state it is - obviously their parents never taught them to be responsible for their money - or maybe they don't consider the money as theirs, so they can do with it what they like
20:47 August 14, 2012 by Trenatos
This is insane, these people need to be taken to court.

It's getting tiresome to read about all the corruption in various parts of government and private organizations working with the government.
22:19 August 14, 2012 by voiceofreason
The excuse is lame and it makes me angry.

If I were to sack the head of the agency, it will not be because of the money but for such a ridiculous excuse
12:26 August 15, 2012 by Borilla
#9 - You obviously don't speak bureaucratise. Translated: "if we knew we would get caught, we would have hidden the expenses better. Quite frankly, we are used to playing with public money without someone looking over our shoulder."

#4 - It is the way of Swedish politics. Have meetings, cater them and discuss various subjects without reaching any conclusion except that another catered meeting is necessary. Remembering to always make sure that you are in no way held responsible for any action actually taken unless it is successful.

Notice that despite the recent revelations no action will be taken and the government will simply let the furor die away. After all, don't rock the boat. The bureaucratic mantra prevails - "There but for the grace of god go I".
14:48 August 15, 2012 by engagebrain
The job of the SSF is to identify and fund important research - given their cavalier attitude is it likely that this was done diligently and honestly. The potential for wasting our money by funding to the dodgy projects is much greater than merely pilfering for parties.
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