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Corruption scandal widens

Published torsdag 7 oktober 2010 kl 10.38
Several public officials in Gothenburg are under investigation after a Swedish Television programme revealed they were using tax payers’ money to redecorate their houses.

A high-ranking public official in one of Stockholm’s local councils has been reported to the Office of the Public Prosecutor’s unit for corruption. Some analysts now warn that corruption could be more widespread within the public administration than previously thought.

Earlier this year, Swedish Television’s investigative programme, Uppdrag Granskning, revealed a corruption plot with several public officials involved in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city. Their investigation has now lead to several officials being indicted for funnelling public funds to pay for private trips and house repairs.

According to newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, the public official in Stockholm bought an apartment for significantly less money than its estimated value. The company that sold it to him had ten years earlier bought the land from the county where the man worked and the official had also been involved when the county adopted a new plan for development in the area which benefited the company.

The official told the newspaper that he wasn’t aware he was under investigation and said he got the apartment at a bargain price because the house was a restoration object.

The spate of recent corruption scandals could put a dent in Sweden’s reputation for being one of the most transparent countries in the world. In 2009 Sweden shared the third place on Transparency International’s corruption perception index with Singapore.

But since that report was released, several corruption scandals have been exposed.

An elected politician in Solna, Stockholm, was forced to resign after it turned out he was on the payroll of a company that won several lucrative building contracts in the area. In Norrköping, in the middle of Sweden, a public official has been suspended after he admitted he used almost 30.000 dollar of public funds to pay the repairs on his house.

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