Trial on bribes within Swedish Property Agency

7 oktober, 2020

In 2017, investigative journalists att TV show "Kalla fakta" uncovered extensive irregularities within the Swedish Public Property Agency. The trial is now underway where six people, including a former property manager at the authority, are suspected of bribery. (Article in Swedish

The case is a clear example of a lack of control in public operations and an inability to act on malpractice.

For several years the former employee Richard Lindvall pointed out the misconduct he saw to the General Manager of the authority, before he chose to go external with his suspicions. As a whistleblower in the case, he is now the main witness in the trial. (Article in Swedish)

The case can be seen as an example of particularly nefarious individuals, or as a predictable result of a naive culture in the public sector, lax supervision and insufficient tools for the oversight bodies.

As seen many times before, bribes seem especially prevalent where the public sector meets the private sector. What starts on a small scale is gradually growing, and where there are no individuals as owners, control seems to be laxer. 

Richard Lindvall describes the frustration among officials within the National Audit Office over their insufficient tools. As new EU regulation will make whistleblower systems mandatory, the toolbox will be expanded. But it remains to be seen whether it will drive any actual change.

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