Under fire Serco chief quits after string of scandals

Serco chief executive Christopher Hyman has resigned, the scandal-hit services company has announced.

Christopher Hyman, the chief executive of security giant Serco, which is facing an investigation after the Government was overcharged millions of pounds for electronically tagging criminals, has resigned

Mr Hyman quit as the firm attempted to rebuild its relationship with the Government following controversies over its handling of key contracts. He said: “I have always put the interests of Serco first. At this time, nothing is more important to me than rebuilding the relationship with our UK Government customer.

“In recent weeks it has become clear to me that the best way for the company to move forward is for me to step back. I have been fortunate enough to have had the privilege of working at a great company with extremely talented people. I wish everyone at Serco the very best for the future.”

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The firm faces investigation after the Government was overcharged millions of pounds for electronically tagging criminals and there are also allegations of potentially fraudulent behaviour in the management of its £285m prison escorting contract.

Last month the Government handed material to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in relation to Serco over the tagging scandal.

It emerged previously that Serco and rival G4S overcharged the Government by tens of millions of pounds for electronically tagging criminals – including for monitoring dead offenders. G4S refused to co-operate with an audit and was referred to the SFO immediately, while Serco allowed a further forensic audit to take place.

In the course of the audit, the Ministry of Justice provided material to the SFO in relation to Serco’s conduct under the electronic monitoring contracts.

An audit by big four accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, launched in May, revealed that overcharging began at least as far back as the start of the current contracts in 2005 – but could have dated as far back as 1999.

Auditors discovered that the firms had charged for tagging offenders who were back in prison, had had their tags removed, had left the country or had never been tagged in the first place.