Guantanamo Bay deal helps good times return for security firm G4S

Barack Obama promised to shut Guatanamo Bay - but the detention centre remains open six years into his presidency
Barack Obama promised to shut Guatanamo Bay - but the detention centre remains open six years into his presidency
Alex Stevenson By

Controversial security services firm G4S has been awarded a $118 million contract to service the US' Guantanamo Bay prison.

The terror suspect detention facility, which holds 149 prisoners who have not been charged with any offence, is part of the naval complex which will receive 'base support operating services', the department of defense (DoD) announced yesterday.

Its acceptance of the contract could prompt criticism in Britain, as the British government continues to outsource work to it despite G4S' eyebrow-raising record in recent years.

The company faces an ongoing investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over its involvement in last year's scandal over the tagging of criminals, in which it and rival firm Serco admitted charging taxpayers for electronically tagging individuals who were either in prison or dead.


The 'over-billing' resulted in ministers temporarily banning it from bidding for government contracts – but this suspension was lifted in April when a £109 million payment ended the affair.

G4S was also criticised after ministers had to draft in the Army to reinforce G4S' security for the 2012 Olympics.

But after registering a loss of £94 million last year, today it announced pre-tax profits of £85 million for the first half of 2014.

It has  won a total of £1.2 billion in the six months to the end of June, including a Department for Work and Pensions contract providing community work placements for the long-term unemployed.

The government has long been aware that G4S has not been averse to accepting controversial work.

In 2007 it signed a contract with the Israeli Prison Authority to supply equipment to facilities holding Palestinian political prisoners.

Israel's policy of detaining Palestinians is contrary to Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and has been criticised by human rights groups.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates sold his entire stake in G4S earlier this year following calls from campaigners for him to disinvest from the company.

"It is unacceptable that the British multinational G4S continues to profit from Israel's occupation of Palestine and the collective punishment imposed on the population of Gaza," pressure group War on Want's senior campaigner Rafeef Ziadah said.

"Universities, banks, charities and trade unions across the world have terminated contracts with G4S, costing the company millions of pounds. Our continued efforts to hold G4S to account are needed today more than ever."

Now G4S is set to help the US government run Guantanamo Bay, despite the fact around half of the inmates have been cleared as posing no threat.

The US DoD's statement explained G4S' tasks will include "family housing, facility management, facility investment, other (swimming pools), custodial, pest control, integrated solid waste management, grounds maintenance and landscaping, base support vehicles and equipment, electrical, wastewater, water, and limited facilities support functions".

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