‘Stop crooks winning contracts’

9 December 2009
9 December 2009 | Jake Kanter

The Scottish government has been urged to tighten up procurement procedures to prevent criminals accessing deals.

Gordon Meldrum, director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, told the heraldscotland.com website he wants to ensure none of the government’s £8 billion procurement spend funds “pay-as-you-go criminality”.

Meldrum has met senior government buyers to discuss whether EU purchasing laws need to be changed to prevent offenders muscling in on deals that he believes are “prone to infiltration”.

He said organised crime groups use partially legitimate companies as fronts to top up income from criminal activity including drugs, human trafficking and counterfeit goods.

“I believe there is much more they and we can do to make sure we are jointly focused on preventing a single penny of the taxpayer’s money from reaching the hands of a front company for a serious organised crime group,” Meldrum told heraldscotland.com.

“This is why we have been working with senior procurement staff from across Scotland to explore the possibilities within the existing legislative and regulatory frameworks and to examine whether we require any new powers.”

Meldrum admitted the issue was complex and would not be solved in the next 12 months, but said there was an appetite to “make life more difficult” for groups involved in serious organised crime.
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