Alandale Rail bosses jailed for Thameslink corruption

Aaron Morby 4 years ago
Share

Four men have been jailed for being involved in corrupt payments to secure work on the Farringdon Station upgrade for the Thameslink project in London.

Contractor Alandale Rail, part of the Alandale Group, was also convicted of corruption and fined £25,000 for its involvement.

Farringdon station corruption

(r to l)Innocent Obiekwe, John Zayya, Kevin McKee, William Waring

Blackfriars Crown Court in London heard how British Transport Police fraud investigators uncovered a ring of corruption and bribery on a large contract to upgrade Farringdon station.

Former operations director Kevin McKee and fellow director John Zayya of Alandale Rail made corrupt payments to a senior manager working for Farringdon station joint venture contractors Costain/Laing O’Rourke so they could secure the contract to supply safety critical staff on the project.

CoLOR joint venture senior manager Innocent Obiekwe was nicknamed ‘our man in Havana’ by the two Alandale directors as he supplied confidential information during the tender process.

The information provided to Alandale Rail by Obiekwe ensured that they had a positive influence on the tender process and could undercut bids made by competitors. The initial value of the contract was £2.1m but eventually rose to £5.2m.

After Alandale Rail won the Farringdon contract by corruption, McKee, Zayya and Obiekwe then went on to defraude CoLOR by claiming for ‘ghost worker’ shifts.

Payments were claimed for workers who never attended the site or carried out any work, and invoices and timesheets were falsified to disguise the bogus claims.

Throughout the investigation, British Transport Police fraud investigators identified payments in excess of £140,000 paid to Obiekwe along with other gifts and favours.

The proceeds of this fraud was shared amongst them, with the lion’s share going to Obiekwe.

When this practice was uncovered Zayya continued to send money to Obiekwe by using an intermediary William Waring, director at management consultancy Qualitas Infrastructure Developments.

Zayya skimmed from the operatives’ rates of pay and used Waring and his company, Qualitas, to pay the cash to Obiekwe.

Their operation came to light in 2011 after McKee told CoLOR and Transport for London of their dishonest practices, sparking an investigation.

Sentences

  • Kevin McKee pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment and disqualified from being a director for eight years.
  • Innocent Obiekwe pleaded guilty to corruption and was sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified from being a director for eight years.
  • John Zayya pleaded guilty to corruption and was sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified from being a director for eight years.
  • William Waring pleaded guilty at trial to corruption and money laundering. He was sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified from being a director for eight years.

Jane Mitchell, Prosecutor for the CPS Specialist Fraud Division, said: “McKee, Zayya and Obiekwe cheated their way to a significant contract and their level of ongoing dishonesty was uncovered only when one of their own came forward”.

“The defendants could not hide from the overwhelming evidence put forward by the British Transport Police and CPS and all pleaded guilty, apart from the company that was found guilty unanimously by the jury.”

Detective Constable Justin Yorke from British Transport Police Commercial Fraud Squad, said: “The scale of the corruption was significant.

“While we may never know the full extent of money fraudulently claimed and laundered, I am pleased that we have brought a criminal gang to justice.

“The corruption shown by all defendants was complex, prolonged and meticulously planned. However, they did not plan on a whistle-blower reporting their corruption to the Mayor of London’s office. ”

Latest news

McAlpine £350m Deutsche Bank job delayed four months

Completion of landmark bank HQ pushed back again to March 2022
6 hours ago

Cladding shortages reach crisis point

Contractors told no new cladding supplies until January
13 hours ago

Fire hits eighth floor of major London refurb job

Twelve fire engines and 80 firefighters control blaze at Space House site
5 hours ago

Concrete batteries could allow buildings to store energy

Revolutionary technology could allow buildings to become giant batteries
13 hours ago

5% annual cost inflation to become new normal

Clients urged to start projects now to beat big cost rises
12 hours ago

Small nuclear reactor consortium refines design

Building costs to be cut to £1.8bn per plant using proven technology and factory manufacture
20 hours ago

Self-employed trade rates 20% up on a year ago

Midlands and eastern England wage rates highest in the country
10 hours ago

Watkin Jones steps up expansion into affordable homes

Build to rent and student rooms developer delivers robust half-year results
12 hours ago

Winners revealed on framework to build 3,200 new homes

Big name contractors bag places on major new later living deal
1 day ago

ISG makes a profit and stays debt free despite Covid

Pandemic cuts profits and turnover but order book now at record high
1 day ago

Vital Energi bags £7.3m mechanical package from Berkeley

Specialist working across four blocks of west London luxury scheme
1 day ago

120-tonne bridge beam falls onto Leeds highway

Concrete beam crushes transporter on Balfour replacement bridge job
3 days ago

Revamp jobs drive 20% recovery in London office work

Speculative new starts on the rise as developers start to bet on future of offices
2 days ago

Buckingham bags £55m Tyne and Wear Metro deal

Construction to start next year dualling rails along key sections
2 days ago

GMI wins £40m Leeds student rooms job

604-bed student accommodation project will rise to 15 storeys
2 days ago

Upbeat Vistry to exceed profit forecasts this year

Completions on track for 40% uplift to 6,500 homes as weekly sales rates jump
1 day ago

Kent contractor Coombs bought from administrators

Coombs name revived as building maintenance and retrofit specialist
2 days ago

Willmott Dixon picked for £32m Hounslow housing job

West London housing complex involves building over 100 homes in Feltham
2 days ago

Laing O’Rourke signs £600m London Olympia contract

Demolition to start on main central hall after a year of enabling works
5 days ago

Taylor Woodrow to build London to Southampton pipeline

Main construction work to start next year on new 90km aviation fuel pipeline
5 days ago

Paul John Construction (Leicester) in administration

Insolvency specialist FRP Advisory takes over at Coalville-based civils firm
5 days ago

Bid race for £70m job to restore disused Portishead rail line

Project involves 5.5km of new railway between Pill and Portishead
5 days ago

Shareholders invest £5m in McLaren growth push

Contractor plans expansion in core sectors
5 days ago

McAlpine losses hit £26.8m

Contractor reveals impact of Covid on finances
5 days ago

Morgan Sindall wins £28m Dawlish rockfall shelter

Work to start in August on key stretch of South West coastal railway
5 days ago

Redrow go-ahead for 1,200 homes in North London

Third phase of Colindale Gardens will consist of five large clustered blocks of flats
5 days ago

Kier launches £241m fund raise to pay down debt

Contractor hopes to achieve net cash in two to three years
6 days ago

HS2 hits historic milestone as first TBM launches

TBM will dig 10 miles of tunnel under the Chilterns, operating 24/7 for the next three years
6 days ago

Winchmore wins £2m brickwork package from Wates

Specialist lands latest deal as it ramps-up training and apprenticeships programme
5 days ago

Balfour upbeat as new chairman confirmed

Positive trading statement as former ITV chief Lord Allen appointed
6 days ago

Contractor services