A person has been remanded in custody awaiting trial in the widening case of alleged corruption uncovered at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The Federal Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the arrest on Friday.
A criminal complaint was filed with the prosecutor at the end of January after claims made in the press that a departmental head at SECO had developed suspicious business dealings with an external company.
IT contracts are said to have been given out relating to unemployment insurance and VIP tickets, trips and gifts in excess of tens of thousands of francs received in return.
Among other points, they also claimed that the company had billed SECO for an excessive number of working hours.
An employee who is alleged to be involved was temporarily suspended, while the economics ministry said it was also starting an administrative investigation, after being informed of the claims the previous week. This investigation had not begun at the time of the arrest.
The director of the Federal Audit Office, Michel Huissoud, called the allegations “shocking” and added that SECO had to clarify that all internal procedures and checks had been functioning properly.
Earlier this month it was also reported that between 2009 and 2011 SECO awarded contracts worth around CHF34 million ($37.6 million) without a public bidding process.
Bidding should have taken place based on the values of the individual contracts.
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