RUG fraud: ‘More staff will appear in court’
According to RUG vice president Jan de Jeu, ‘that likely pertains to two university employees’, he said on Thursday during the University Council meeting. He was unwilling to identify to whom he was referring.
However, the Public Prosecutor says that the university may be getting a little bit ahead of itself. ‘The investigation is ongoing, and only once it has been completed will we be able to decide if additional suspects will be prosecuted’, according to spokesperson Marieke van der Molen, but she did confirm that another suspect remains in pre-trial detention.
Half a million
In January of this year, eight individuals were arrested on suspicion of fraud. The primary suspect is Hans G. from Harkstede. The Public Prosecution alleges that G. defrauded the university for at least half a million euros over the course of eight years. The RUG manager asked installation and construction companies to pay him outside of official channels or to do favours for his family in exchange for maintenance contracts at the university. G. is no longer being held in custody while awaiting trial.
An investigation by Dagblad van het Noorden and the Universiteitskrant revealed that employees of the maintenance department were aware that the RUG was being defrauded for decades. Thanks to G., several staffers were able to have their homes renovated on the university’s dime.
The RUG’s internal investigation, which is being conducted by Hoffmann fraud investigation bureau, has concluded. Three employees of the maintenance department and one financial services employee have been suspended.
The university plans to set up an integrity programme in response to the fraud. ‘It was possible for this fraud to be committed due to the existence of a certain type of corporate culture. As such, we want to pay more attention to integrity and office culture within the university. It is evident that employees need to be informed about how to cope with these issues,’ says RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens.