One of the heads of the agency that runs Berlin’s migrant centres has been arrested on charges of corruption.
The unnamed official, who works for the infamous LaGeSo agency, is charged with taking bribes from security companies who provide services at asylum homes. The news came as Berlin’s state prosecutor announced that along with the government official, the managing director of the security company in question was also brought up on charges and arrested. Two other employees of the security firm are also under investigation reports Spiegel Online.
The head of the LaGeSo branch is said to have given out contracts for the security of various asylum homes across the city to a specific company and pressured the centres to accept only one specific security company in order to receive funding from the Berlin city government.
It is also alleged that the LaGeSo head accumulated cash in the order of 5,000 to 10000 euros more than once last year and possibly as a “commission” from the company after being awarded a successful contract. The 48-year-old bureaucrat’s home was also searched and authorities claim to have found a safe with over 51,000 euros inside.
Police also seized documents from the home along with a car, computers and other electronic devices like smart phones.
Prosecutors in the case have accused the organization of taking regular bribes saying: “It’s about commercial bribery, it can be seen already that this is not an isolated incident, but regular payments.”
A spokesperson for LaGeSo made a statement in response to the arrests saying: “The State office for Health and Social Affairs was informed today about the fact that police and prosecutors have begun an investigation against an employee of LaGeSo and have searched his work office and home. The employee was released of their duties at LaGeSo today. The State office and Senate support the investigating authorities fully in their work.”
The agency has come under fire in the past for its lack of efficiency in dealing with the growing migrant population. The New York Times wrote an article about the agency last November showing that the government agency was in a constant state of chaos trying to accommodate new migrants and care for existing ones. Various images circulated of migrants waiting in long lines for food and aid.
These images inspired one migrant helper organization to try and garner sympathy for the migrants in Berlin by fabricating a story that a migrant had frozen to death while waiting in one of the long lines for aid. Breitbart reported that the entire story turned out to be a fake after the man involved cut himself off from all friends and acquaintances when questioned. It wasn’t until police checked up on him that he finally came clean and admitted the story had been a lie.