Gothenburg opens probe into bribery claims

Gothenburg municipality is set to appoint a special review team to conduct a full examination of the entire public administration in the wake of a bribery scandal that has rocked the western Swedish city.

“I have not yet designated a group or formulated any investigative objective, but it is important that something is done soon,” Gothenburg city director Åke Jacobsson said on Monday evening.

Jacobsson will meet with a number of government and corporate leaders on Tuesday morning and open discussions over how the review should be conducted.

“Turning every stone will not work. We would drown in the job. We may choose to investigate what we think may have an effect,” said Jacobsson, indicating that the group may be appointed at the end of this week or early next week.

However, he would was unwilling to specify when he expects the group to return with a result.

Sveriges Television’s (SVT) Uppdrag Granskning programme made allegations of aggravated bribery against several officials in Gothenburg concerning their dealings with construction magnate Stefan Allbäck in a broadcast last week.

Sweden’s anti-corruption unit (Riksenheten mot korruption) has since opened an investigation concerning the Gothenburg municipal housing firm Familjebostäder and the city’s sports and clubs division.

The programme claimed that several of the invoices submitted for public projects and approved by the municipal officials concerned contained gross irregularities.

Gothenburg’s Social Democratic mayor, Anneli Hulthén, called all the presidents and heads of municipal housing firms to review the situation last Friday with a promise that further municipal reviews will follow.

The aim is for the new assessment team to look for errors or procedures that require change.

The city of Gothenburg also highlighted a policy in which “contact with the media should be with the utmost transparency” after SVT reporter Janne Josefsson and his team were stopped at an open meeting by hired guards.

“That should not happen,” Jacobsson underlined.

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