NOTORIOUS private security firm G4S, currently under investigation for fraud and three of whose employees are presently in court charged with manslaughter, is being re-considered for re-employment in government business!
This is despite three G4S security guards being currently in court charged with the death of Jimmy Mubenga. The court case began at Wesminister Magistrates court on Monday, and is examining how Mubenga, while being forcibly deported, died after being restrained by the guards on board a plane.
Nevertheless, the Cabinet Office insists G4S have taken ‘positive steps’ to change its practices and engaged ‘constructively’ with the government. G4S has been banned from governmental work since the national scandal involving the electonic tagging of prisoners.
Last November, the chief executive of G4S was forced to apologise to MPs over claims that the company had charged for the tagging of prisoners who were either still in jail, dead or abroad.
The company agreed to repay £109m and is now under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. Even while it is still under investigation, the Cabinet Office insists that G4S has taken steps to address weakness in its operations and that its ‘corporate renewal plan represented the right direction of travel to meet our expectations as a customer’.
However, this does not complete G4S’ sordid history. G4S has been instrumental in providing mercenaries to act on behalf of the US and UK armies in both the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afganistan and continues to man checkpoints and engage in security work for the Israelis, in Occupied Palestine.
G4S also made the headlines in 2012 after it failed to provide all its contracted security guards for the London 2012 Olympics. This prompted extra military personnel to be called in to fill the gap and left the firm with losses of £88m.
Despite G4S’ legacy of failure, fraud, alleged manslaughter charges and oppression, after an ‘independent review’, the company was told by the Cabinet that it will be able to bid again for government work, although this will be dependent on it implementing changes in a ‘full and timely manner’.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: ‘The changes G4S has already made and its commitment to go further over coming months are positive steps that the government welcomes.’
Maude said the government would continue to monitor the firm’s compliance with its undertakings, adding that he hoped ‘this will enable our confidence to grow’.
The decision will not affect any potential action taken by the Serious Fraud Office, although ministers said they were reassured that the firm would act quickly if any new information emerged from the continuing investigation. G4S said it would now seek to bid for contracts where it had ‘proven expertise’.
‘Today’s ministerial statement marks an important milestone in rebuilding our relationship with the UK government,’ its chief executive Ashley Almanza said.