Investigations show 'malpractices' in Bpost government contracts
Investigations have revealed “malpractices” in contracts that postal operator Bpost carries out for the federal government. The company released the results of internal investigations on Friday after trading hours.
The investigations were launched after it was revealed that as well as known irregularities in a newspaper distribution contract, there have been issues with other public contracts.
Essentially, the government has overpaid for three services provided by Bpost: processing of traffic fines, management of government bank accounts and delivery and deletion of number plates. Bpost has previously said that those services were not carried out in line with regulations.
The investigations have now been concluded and the company says “malpractices” have been identified. “They bring to light malpractices in which a limited number of persons inside and outside the company have acted in violation of the regulations in force, without adequate control,” it said.
Funds booked for repayment
The largest issue is the management of traffic fines. Some of the compensation Bpost received for this could potentially be seen as illegal state aid. The same applies to the bank accounts.
Bpost, which is 51 per cent owned by the Belgian state, is booking a provision of 75 million euros to repay overcompensation from previous years for the three services. It is now up to the government to determine whether it agrees. It is “unlikely” that the final amount will be determined this year, said Philippe Dartienne, interim Bpost CEO.
Over the course of the four investigations, the company identified 14 employees at various levels involved in the irregularities exposed. The contracts of eight people were terminated. Others had already left the company before the investigations took place.
The company is also under facing questions about the salary offered to its new CEO.
© BELGA PHOTO YORICK JANSENS