Alandale Rail bosses jailed for Thameslink corruption

Aaron Morby 3 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

Key Grenfell witnesses claim immunity from prosecution

Staff and ex-staff from Rydon and Harley Facades seek “privilege against self-incrimination”
3 hours ago

Subcontractors wanted across Birmingham

Work up for grabs at latest Constructionline Meet the Buyer event: Register now
5 hours ago

Groundworks firm UKD falls into administration

Civils specialist had a £28m turnover
11 hours ago

Emails reveal key Grenfell firms knew cladding would fail in blaze

Grenfell Inquiry told bid documents specified zinc cladding not ACM before value engineering
24 hours ago

Multiplex sued for £73m over Glasgow super hospital faults

NHS Trust starts legal action after independent review into problems at Glasgow hospital
1 day ago

£6.8bn Lower Thames Crossing tunnel extended

Plan to submit for development consent order slips six months after design overhaul
10 hours ago

Industry in uproar as plant skills card chaos continues

Operators, trainers and contractors fuming over months of CPCS renewal problems
11 hours ago

£180m Cardiff cancer centre bid race to start in May

First hospital to be procured under Welsh Government's Mutual Investment Model
11 hours ago

Clugston administrators sell haulage business

Over 150 jobs protected at Clugston Distribution Services
1 day ago

Kier bags £21m Bradford Markets project

City centre regeneration project to start in late Spring
11 hours ago

Crest Nicholson blames profit wobble on offsite focus

House builder aims to cut construction and specification costs
1 day ago

Grenfell Tower firms accused of merry-go-round of buck passing

Harley Facades calls for inquiry cladding expert to highlight widespread acceptance of design
1 day ago

£500m funding to bring back historic rail lines

Government to release funds to drive forward reversal of Beeching era cuts.
1 day ago

Civils chiefs raise alarm over rampant insurance cost hikes

Contractors facing huge bills as insurance market hardens
2 days ago

Wates Property Services targets £500m sales by 2024

Ambitious growth plans for new business unit formed from Wates FM and Wates Living Space
1 day ago

£500m heating and renewal framework winners

Eighty-two firms secure places on panel for public sector decarbonising
2 days ago

North West framework winners for jobs up to £3m

Low-value project framework is worth up to £120m
2 days ago

Higgins combines construction and housing divisions

Move to ensure company "has the right foundations for the future"
2 days ago

Grenfell Inquiry reopens today with contractors statements

New Inquiry panel engineer resigns over conflict of interest concerns
2 days ago

Canary Wharf Group to submit plans for next high rises

Plans to be lodged in March for 8 new buildings at North Quay site
2 days ago

Administration again for ironmongery firm Laidlaw

140-year-old supplier sunk by project delays
2 days ago

Kier Utilities seals first Openreach deal

Utilities arm wins Hampshire and Berkshire upgrade through Openreach Network Services framework
2 days ago

Site tool thief caught by blood stain

Power tool raid on Kent site lands thief with 29 months prison sentence
2 days ago

Race starts for £570m Birmingham HS2 station

HS2 opts for a two-stage bid process for landmark Birmingham station
5 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

Site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
2 years ago

Stepnell streamlines to meet “challenges ahead”

Another regional boss exits as contractor restructures
5 days ago

HS2 must start by March to avoid serious cost rises

NAO report reveals reducing risk on contractors has saved £1bn
5 days ago

Midas hires ex-McLaren regional boss

Steve Hart heads up Midas Group residential arm
5 days ago

Asbestos hotel lands contractor in court

HSE inspectors swoop on refurb site
5 days ago

Wates giving ex-offenders a chance on site

Prison programme helps solve site skills crisis
5 days ago

Contractor services