Malmö files police report over suspected SFI fraud

Malmö files police report over suspected SFI fraud
Hermods is accused of billing for more teachers than it in fact employed for at least three months. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT
The city of Malmö has reported Sweden's biggest private education company to the police for allegedly overbilling them at least 4.7m kronor for SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) courses.
The city believes that Hermods, a subsidiary of AcadeMedia, over at least three months but potentially much longer, billed them for significantly more teachers than they in fact employed. 
“This is highly lamentable, and I fear that this is a mess we have yet to see the end of,” Malmö mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh said in a press release. 
“We've requested the correct list of personnel for the whole period of our contract, but have only received it for three months,” she added. 
“Just taking those three months, we're talking about 4.7m kronor which has been consciously billed above what it rightly should have been.” 
AcadeMedia claimed that it had begun to investigate the erroneous billing as soon as it heard about it in March, suspending three managers at Hermods and hiring the accountancy firm PwC to carry out an independent audit. 
“The whole situation is absolutely awful and I think we are just as upset about it as Malmö City Council is,” Paula Hammerskog, the company's communications director, told The Local. 
She said that she did not oppose the decision to contact the police. 
“It's sad and we obviously don't like he fact that it's come to this, but I fully understand that they want a thorough investigation, and I think that its good that they've taken this step. It means that there will be another completely independent investigation.”  
The move comes only days after the city council reported Astar, a subsidiary of Thorengruppen, for a similar incident, with the city in that instance demanding 7.6m kronor back. 
“This is tax money which is going to companies which are taking payment for something they never provided,” Stjernfeldt Jammeh said. “The other thing is that they have not given Malmö residents the Swedish education they have agreed to provide.” 
The city is now investigation three further companies delivering Swedish education, Alpha CE, Miroi, and Isis Hadar. 
From the August 1st, it plans to transfer 1,900 SFI students over to the city's own schools. 

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