Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Cases of widespread fraud uncovered

The government has uncovered cases of widespread fraud involving the civilian protection service.

The Federal Social Insurance Office has found that local authorities across the country cheated the federal government out of about SFr6 million ($7.2 million) between 2003 and 2009.

In a report in the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, confirmed by the Swiss News Agency, cases of fraud were uncovered in 25 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons.

The Social Insurance Office said that local authorities at times engaged men on military service or civil protection duty to fill staff shortages. They were paid out of the government fund set aside for men doing their national service, and not from the coffers of the canton or community where they did the work.

In one case men with the civil protection unit in Sempach, canton Lucerne, were called on to install the town’s Christmas lights, and paid out of the government fund.

In other cases, soldiers copied their documents used to claim money owed to them from the fund, and handed it in for payment several times.

A week ago, it was revealed that the defence ministry has also illegally benefited from the fund to the tune of at least SFr10 million.

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR