RUG investigates fraud suspects’ emails
The university tasked investigative Bureau Hoffmann with analysing the email correspondence of six employees who were suspected of fraud. In doing so, the RUG aimed to uncover whether there were other employees or businesses involved in the swindle.
Hoffmann was brought in after maintenance department head Hans G. was arrested by the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigative Services (FIOD). He is suspected of having accepted tens of thousands of euros in kickbacks from several installation companies in exchange for jobs at the RUG. To the extent known, more than 1.1 million euros has been embezzled over the past seven years.
According to accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which investigated the financial damage to the university, searching the emails was necessary to get a better handle on the fraud case. The firm claims that in order to complete the financial statements for 2015, the university needs to make sure that all people connected to the fraud have been identified.
The Personnel faction voiced its concerns about the investigation during a University Council meeting last week. ‘Should a private firm be allowed to have access to employees’ inboxes?’’, the party asked. The University Board felt there was sufficient reason to do so. ‘We bear full responsibility for the investigation’, RUG vice president Jan de Jeu responded.
The university also engaged Deloitte Accountants to scrutinise the invoices of the services department, where Hans G. worked. More than 300,000 orders were analysed for 18 different criteria, including whether the orders came from Hans G, whether suspicious suppliers were involved and whether the orders were fulfilled outside of working hours, among other things.
This analysis yielded 749 suspicious orders. These were assessed by an internal fraud coordination group, but the analysis did not lead to any new suspects.
In addition, employees’ home addresses were checked at the Chamber of Commerce for extracurricular activities or concealed businesses. But this did not bring any new suspects to light, either.
For privacy reasons, the university is refusing to disclose who the six employees are who are under suspicion. According to sources within the department in question, in addition to Hans G, his former secretary and his manager are also involved. A former employee in the telecommunications department is also implicated in the fraud.
Hans G. acknowledges that he is involved in the fraud, but says that his role in the case is much smaller than the Public Prosecution Office (OM) claims. ‘The way this has gone has just been really terrible on all sides. I am not saying that I am squeaky clean – I have made mistakes. But as far as I’m concerned, the role that is attributed to me is not an actual reflection of the reality’, he told the UK previously.
The case against Hans G. will likely be heard in late October.