Corruption in municipalities mapped out
Corruption cases in municipalities and counties around Sweden aren’t discovered by employers or authorities, but by private persons and journalists. That’s what a unique survey presented to parliament by Statskontoret (the Government’s survey) earlier this year shows.

Poor security for those who sound the alarm, little knowledge about rules and regulations, and minimal control are some of the reasons corruption goes unreported. Now an increased security for the employees who sound the alarm is being suggested. Today more people say they’ve been offered inappropriate benefits than in 2008, according to a press release from Statskontoret. At the same time, more officials and politicians estimate that though corruption does take place, it rarely leads to concrete measures. The survey also shows that local government officials are more exposed to corruption than politicians, and that the planning- and building sector is the most at risk for corruption.

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Every year around 20 corruption crimes are reported to police in the local government sector—a number that has been constant since 2003, according to the survey. Corruption in Sweden is primitive and spread out over the entire country. “It’s about close relations between middle-aged men,” says Linda Hols Salén at Brå (Brottsförebyggande rådet or The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention). Hols Salén is one of the people behind the survey. Brå only discovers a fraction of the cases, and it seems the county councils aren’t interested in shining a light on the problem, given the negative publicity that is sure to follow. The number of local government employees who say they have at some point been offered a bribe has doubled to 12 percent between 2008 and 2011, yet the number of police reports over the same period remains the same. The knowledge of corruption is greater in counties that previously have had to handle scandals, but many of the smaller counties lack experience in discovering corruption.
“Corruption is an issue in only 50 percent of the counties,” says Johan Mörck, investigator at Statskontoret. “That the knowledge hasn’t spread to counties and municipalities is something we think is a bit odd.”