No criminal charges will be brought in relation to the case of thousands of missing computers in Espoo.
The computers appear to have gone missing not because of thefts or embezzlements but because of insufficient registration and supervision practices. Over 9,600 computers, screens and printers were initially believed to have disappeared, but a pre-trial investigation has found that the number of missing devices is considerably lower, no more than 2,300–2,900.
Thousands of devices could not be identified altogether due to erroneous identity attributes.
The City of Espoo has for several years leased the computers and computer accessories used by its roughly 14,000 employees and 30,000 schoolchildren from a service provider. Fujitsu was responsible for delivering and removing the devices from use until last year, while Danske Finance was responsible for maintaining the billing register.
Both of the partners maintained a register of the devices, but their registers are inconsistent with one another. The City of Espoo was consequently charged for devices the location of which was a mystery to all parties to the contract.
Espoo is responsible under law for the management and supervision of its devices, as are other municipalities with similar arrangements.
“The pre-trial investigation found that the internal mechanisms of the city do not function properly,” admits Mauri Suuperko, the director of public utilities services at the City of Espoo. “We were aware of the problems with the processes. That's why we renewed all processes, contracts and partners related to IT services as early as in 2014. We also updated our internal guidelines.”
Jukka Pitkänen, the director of ICT services at the City of Espoo, noticed the irregularities soon after taking office in 2012. The city sought to clarify the discrepancies in its device and equipment register independently between 2012 and 2014, and even commissioned an assessment of the life-cycle services from an expert organisation.
The city ultimately filed a formal request for inquiry after failing to solve the mystery, prompting the police to open an embezzlement investigation.
Minna Immonen, the detective chief inspector in charge of the investigation, points out that most of the inconsistencies between the various registers, listings and findings seem to be attributable to insufficient registration practices, vague methods of operation and a blatant lack of internal supervision.
Juho Jokinen – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT