Bpost ready to 'bear consequences' of investigation into abuse of government contracts
The Belgian post company, which has come under fire for possible mishandling of services it performs for the Belgian government, says it is facing up to the situation and will get to the bottom of the matter "in full transparency".
Mediahuis newspapers reported on Friday that bpost, owned by the Belgian state, received 4 billion euros of taxpayers' money over the past 10 years. The company cannot yet say anything about the possible impact. "We suspect that the impact could be heavy, but let us first await the results of the ongoing investigation," said spokesperson Veerle Van Mierlo
Bpost has many contracts with the government and used them in such a way that as many costs as possible went to the state. This relates to the collection of traffic fines, the collection and delivery of car numberplates and management of the state's bank accounts.
Prohibited state aid
Moreover, because not everything was submitted to the EU, the European Commission might classify this as prohibited state aid, which would result in heavy fines.
How much Belgium was overcharged is not yet known. Bpost has spoken of 25 million to 50 million euros in 2023 alone, but cost accounting is complicated. The investigation will depend on experts to determine by how much the Belgian state was overcharged. Van Mierlo describes this as "a painful process that we have put ourselves through and that we will bear the consequences of."
In the wake of the scandals, Bpost's shares have tumbled to an all-time low. The company hopes to provide more information as early as next week.
© BELGA PHOTO YORICK JANSENS