MP calls for Centre Against Racism funding freeze

A Moderate Party member of parliament has called on the minister for integration and equality, Jens Orback, to freeze funding to the Centre Against Racism, which has been at the heart of a media storm amid allegations of massive wastage, internal disputes and a total lack of progress.

“In the last few days the media have investigated the Centre Against Racism and have established a series of improprieties,” said Tobias Billström.

“It has been shown that the centre has an auditor who has been found guilty of vote-rigging, that the centre is missing the breadth of members that the government demands and that the board tried to cover up accusations of sexual harassment.”

Despite receiving 14 million kronor in funding, the centre has not carried out one investigation or produced one report into racism, ethnic harassment or homophobia.

Jens Orback has told the media that there will be a “speedy investigation” into the Centre’s activities.

“The criticism of the centre’s handling of money is serious enough that there is now good reason to hasten an inquiry,” he said.

“But such a decision cannot be taken until after the holiday,” Orback added.

In 2004 the three employees plus the eleven board members managed to rack up bills of almost 600,000 kronor in travel, luxury hotel charges, meals and booze. Salary costs amounted to 1.7 million kronor, while the fees of board members, who are meant to be unpaid, came to 275,000 kronor.

“What’s more, there are suspicions of economic improprieties,” said Tobias Billström.

“So my question to the minister is whether the remaining funding for the Centre Against Racism should be frozen until the investigation is concluded.”

Billström said that the best interests of the taxpayers must be served.

“If it turns out that the criticism is unfounded then the money can be paid out retrospectively. But I don’t think that will be the case,” he said.

Sources:Svenska Dagbladet