Scottish PPP project officially cleared of corruption

17 April 2006
More legal news

18 April 2006 | James Atkinson, FM World

Scotland's Strathclyde Police will shortly write to the Scottish Procurator Fiscal Service to formally clear North Ayrshire Council of any corruption in the procurement process for its £382 million schools PPP contract.

The investigation by Strathclyde Police was triggered by independent Scottish MSP Campbell Martin, who claimed the bid process had been rigged.

But the police have since informed North Ayrshire Council that there was no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing, and that the council's procurement process was fully in compliance with the tendering rules.

FM World understands that the police will shortly write to the Procurator Fiscal advising that there is nothing to investigate, in the final step paving the way for the project to proceed unabated.

In a letter to Scottish newspaper The Herald earlier this year, Ian Snodgrass, North Ayrshire Council chief executive said: "Mr Martin has maintained these accusations over many months, despite endless explanations of the process from North Ayrshire Council and the Scottish Executive."

"His allegations have no basis in fact and I am delighted he will no longer be able to give them a sham legitimacy by linking them to a police 'investigation'."

The project on the western coast of Scotland, south of Glasgow, comprises the construction of four new schools in Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Irvine and on the island of Arran. It was awarded to a project company led by German contractor Hochtief in mid March this year.

Speaking to FM World, a spokesman for Hochtief said: "We had faith in the Council's assertions of the impeccable probity of the process and that they would be exhonerated from any allegations of incorrect process."

"The consortium has been able to accommodate the majority of the time within its programme with only a minor slippage of some six weeks to two of the four schools," he said.


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