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Old March 13th 08, 08:04 PM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Corruption probe over Tube deals

From:
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...als/article.do

Detectives are investigating allegations of corruption in collapsed Tube
firm Metronet, the Standard reveals today.

Police have been called in after a six-figure contract for complex
electrical work was given to a firm that specialises in unblocking drains.

An Evening Standard investigation has uncovered serious concerns over
how £850,000 worth of work to refurbish electrical fittings and fire
alarms at Oxford Circus station was awarded.

A contract was given by Metronet to Lanes Group, which has no industry
certification for electrical work.

Metronet project manager, Ed Maloney, set up a company with Lanes'
director Bruce Crompton, shortly before the Oxford Circus contract was
awarded.

Mr Maloney then awarded the contract to Lanes.

The firm concerned appears to be totally unqualified for the work.

The company, whose annual report says it specialises in drain cleaning,
repairs and pest control, has been awarded millions of pounds worth of
contracts by Metronet.

The contract, seen by the Standard, had three elements.

More than £450,000 was to be spent on electrical work, while the other
elements for fire safety and cosmetic updating in the booking hall were
worth close to £400,000. The Standard has established that Mr Maloney, a
senior Metronet manager involved in awarding the Oxford Circus contract
to Lanes Group, has a private business relationship with Bruce Crompton,
a main board director of Lanes.

Mr Maloney, a secondee from one of Metronet's parent companies, Balfour
Beatty, was Metronet's project director for about a quarter of the
company's much-criticised and massively-overbudget station refurbishment
programme. In April last year, shortly before Lanes tendered for the
Oxford Circus contract-Mr Maloney and Mr Crompton set up a company,
Energy Matters Nuclear Services Ltd. They and one other person, Theresa
Hughes, a neighbour of Mr Crompton's, were the only directors. In
January, as the contract got under way, the two men set up a further
three companies together, Energy Matters Group Ltd, Energy Matters Plant
Ltd and Energy Matters (East Anglia) Ltd. Again the two men, plus Ms
Hughes, were the only directors. Energy Matters has the same initials as
Ed Maloney.

Last month, after the Standard started enquiring about the companies, Mr
Maloney transferred his directorships in all four of them to his wife,
Siobhan.

The vast majority of electrical contractors - from household
electricians upwards - are certified as competent by a number of
independent electrical industry standards bodies, including NICEIC, the
Electrical Contractors' Association, NAPIT, ELECSA and the British
Standards Institute.

However, Lanes Group is not registered with any such bodies and is
completely uncertified to carry out electrical work.

"They are actually less qualified to do this incredibly sensitive job
than your average household electrician out of the Yellow Pages," said
one senior transport industry source. "Nobody could work out why they
were getting all these contracts." A London Underground source said it
was "extremely unusual, to say the least," although not illegal, that a
company without certification could be employed on such an important job.

The Standard has obtained internal Metronet documents making clear that
Mr Maloney was involved in the decision to award the Oxford Circus
contract to Lanes Group. In one memo, dated 2 November last year, from
Mr Maloney to Stephen Brown, his quantity surveyor or financial manager,
Mr Maloney describes Lanes as a "competent contractor" and says: "You
are authorised to place the order [for the electrical work] with Lanes
and are instructed to produce the tender pack."

The memo says that Mr Brown made the recommendation to award the
contract to Lanes - but industry sources told the Standard that no
quantity surveyor would do this and said the final responsibility was
always the project director's, in this case Mr Maloney. The memo goes on
to say the decision was "agreed" by Mr Maloney. He formally approves the
contract in two further documents obtained by the Standard. Mr Maloney,
36, is a well-known figure in the civil engineering world who has worked
for LU and several major contractors to the railway industry. He grew up
in Ireland and moved to the UK after completing his education.

He lives in a village in the Home Counties and also has a Spanish villa
near Alicante to which he travels frequently. He is described as quiet
and unassuming but not particularly popular with colleagues.

Speaking to the Standard from his Bedfordshire home, Mr Maloney refused
to answer any questions about the companies or about his relationship
with Lanes Group. He refused to confirm or deny whether he was under
police investigation.

A Metronet spokesman said: "The British Transport Police are
investigating a specific allegation of fraud. Metronet takes such
matters extremely seriously and acted to advise the BTP as soon as we
became aware of the allegation. We are working closely with the BTP, but
cannot comment further at this time while they undertake their
investigation."

Neither the police nor Metronet would confirm or deny whether Mr Maloney
is the subject of the investigation. Recently, he was moved from his job
as project director to a new position overseeing Balfour Beatty's
project to rebuild the northern ticket hall at King's Cross St Pancras.
Balfour Beatty would only say that it was "aware" of the police inquiry.

Oxford Circus is used by 63 million passengers a year. This upgrade work
remains unfinished, however, and it is not clear how much of it Lanes
has actually completed.

Initially Lanes appears to have submitted the second-lowest tender for
the electrical part of the contract, but the lowest tender did not
comply with the specifications of the job.

Tube unions expressed concern today that safety at the station could
have been compromised by the use of unqualified contractors.

Bob Crow, secretary-general of the RMT, said: "If there is fraud, that's
bad enough. But if there has been any threat to our members' safety then
this is very grave indeed. We will be seeking an investigation by the
Health and Safety Executive and we expect the police to investigate
whether Tube workers or passengers have been placed in any danger." Over
the last five years Lanes Group has also won millions of pounds worth of
other work on Metronet's stations programme, including a project on a
ventilation shaft at Waterloo.

Although closer to its core competence, its performance on this job was
described as "totally useless" and "pathetic" by two transport industry
insiders. "They were asked to pump out the shaft and they had to come
back four or five times before they got it right," said one.

Until recently Lanes Group was known as "Lanes For Drains". Its latest
annual report, filed at Companies House last month, says: "The group has
continued to trade principally as drain cleaners, camera surveyors [of
drains], drain repair specialists, commercial cleaning and pest collectors."

There is no mention of railway engineering or electrical work.

It is not clear what work has been completed by Lanes at Oxford Circus.
In a statement, the company said: "Lanes Group was awarded the contract
for the Metronet station refurbishment because it had been on the
[preferred 10] supplier list and followed a rigorous tender process."

It said the procurement "process" had been "stringently audited" and
said: "The company is unaware of any complaints concerning the quality
of its work." Mr Crompton was unavailable for comment at his Suffolk home.

Today's disclosures may only be the tip of the iceberg. Metronet's
massive £1.2 billion overrun on the station refurbishment project - and
the huge delays and poor quality of much of the work - triggered its
collapse last summer.

Although Metronet continues to operate, under the control of an
administrator, taxpayers have been forced to bail it out with £2
billion. The Standard's disclosures will be a further major blow for
Gordon Brown, who as Chancellor forced through the controversial Tube
public-private partnership.

"If a substantial share of Metronet's overrun were to have been due to
criminality, that would be a national political scandal," said Tony
Travers of the London School of Economics.

Any successful prosecution would further vindicate the Mayor, Ken
Livingstone, in his opposition to the Tube PPP.

Mr Livingstone refused to comment last night. But the disclosures could
also cause problems for him.

Despite Balfour Beatty's poor performance and the question marks over Mr
Maloney's business interests, TfL, which is aiming to take over the
Metronet work, is proposing to give the company a valuable new contract
for track renewal. Boris Johnson, Mr Livingstone's Tory opponent in
May's election, said: "There is a need for an urgent review of all
contracts with Balfour Beatty. This stinks of another jobs for the mates
scandal, and we must get a grip on finances."

The Standard's disclosures today are a result of a two-month
investigation into Metronet. In future editions, documentary evidence
will be published of Metronet's gross extravagance and of concerns
inside TfL that its railway was being "plundered" by Metronet. A TfL
spokeswoman said: "The PPP administrator has advised LU that potential
employment irregularities have been identified with Metronet
subcontractors. As soon as these claims were made, immediate action was
taken and the British Transport Police is working with Metronet to
investigate the matter."

The spokeswoman would not comment on Balfour Beatty. "We will not
comment on ongoing contract negotiations."
--
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Old March 14th 08, 07:48 AM posted to uk.transport.london
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Default Corruption probe over Tube deals

On Mar 13, 9:04 pm, Joe Patrick wrote:
From:http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...-details/Corru...

Detectives are investigating allegations of corruption in collapsed Tube
firm Metronet, the Standard reveals today.

Police have been called in after a six-figure contract for complex
electrical work was given to a firm that specialises in unblocking drains.


Whats the point. The firm has been liquidated so it can't be fined and
the odds of prosecuting anyone individually in these sorts of cases
are minimal. Its just a waste of public money.

B2003


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Old March 14th 08, 08:21 AM posted to uk.transport.london
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Posts: 125
Default Corruption probe over Tube deals

On Mar 14, 8:48*am, Boltar wrote:
Whats the point. The firm has been liquidated so it can't be fined and
the odds of prosecuting anyone individually in these sorts of cases
are minimal. Its just a waste of public money.

"Pour encouragez les autres" - as they say south of Watford.

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Old March 14th 08, 03:05 PM posted to uk.transport.london
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First recorded activity at LondonBanter: Jul 2003
Posts: 2,577
Default Corruption probe over Tube deals

Boltar wrote:
On Mar 13, 9:04 pm, Joe Patrick wrote:
From:http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...-details/Corru...

Detectives are investigating allegations of corruption in collapsed
Tube firm Metronet, the Standard reveals today.

Police have been called in after a six-figure contract for complex
electrical work was given to a firm that specialises in unblocking
drains.


Whats the point. The firm has been liquidated so it can't be fined and
the odds of prosecuting anyone individually in these sorts of cases
are minimal. Its just a waste of public money.


Metronet shareholders were robbed!




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