An internal audit of the Brussels public transport operator STIB-MIVB will investigate whether employees are deliberately committing fraud by being paid for work they never did.
The investigation was prompted by a series of damning articles from the French-language news outlet La Capitale, which pointed to systemic abuse by employees including theft, fraud, allegations of drug and alcohol abuse, and solicitation of sex workers during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“If this system exists, we will do everything we can to put an end to it. But we are currently not aware of such a system,” STIB (The Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company) said in response to the article.
But MP David Leisterh said he heard several testimonies that seemed to confirm the fraud, and tweeted a call for prosecution.
Une fraude d’une telle ampleur est tout simplement scandaleuse. Il faut un audit complet de la STIB pour identifier toutes les personnes concernées et les complicités éventuelles. Des poursuites doivent être engagées. Nous interpellerons le #brugovhttps://t.co/ExlhGAEeZO
Fraud on this scale is simply outrageous. A full audit of the STIB is needed to identify all those involved and any possible accomplices. Prosecution must be initiated. We will call on the #brugov
Brussels Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt has launched an audit and says her intent is to collect evidence and identify which employees are involved.
“It now comes down to substantiating the press claims with material evidence and identifying the individuals involved,” she told Bruzz, adding that the fraud seems to be confined to one department. “STIB, myself, and the cabinet are taking this matter very seriously.”
There are two investigations taking place: one regarding the electronic badge check system being used and whether or not it is secure, and another to clarify how badges could be copied or used fraudulently.
STIB’s human resources department and IT department are participating in this investigation, and the Brussels transit authority is calling on anyone who has evidence of fraud to share it with them.
Van den Brandt says that because the fraud involves misappropriation of money, it is punishable in court.