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20 May 2014 | Will Green
A bus company in Ireland has refuted claims made by a former contractor that he had to pay bribes to retain contracts to provide school transport services.
In a report Bus Éireann (Irish Bus) said the contractor claimed he had to pay cash and provide free taxi services to two company employees to retain contracts, and lost the contract after refusing to help pay for a holiday for one of the employees. The contractor worked for Irish Bus between 2002 and 2011.
Following an internal investigation Irish Bus said the two named employees “strongly denied all of the allegations” and in an interview the contractor withdrew “much of what he claimed”, while other allegations were not backed by company records from the procurement process. The company said the contractor lost the contract following a standard tendering process.
The report said: “This preliminary investigation found that there was no basis to take disciplinary action against any Bus Éireann employee, nor to refer the matter to An Garda Síochána [Irish police].
“The company believes that the contractor making the complaint is incorrect, and although he may genuinely believe some of the allegations he is making, his own evidence is contradictory, the other parties deny the allegations strongly, and Bus Éireann's own procurement records do not support the allegations.”
The report added: “Bus Éireann continues to offer full co-operation with the relevant authorities for any investigation into wrongdoing or attempted defamation of the company's reputation.”
The report was completed by Irish Bus following a request from various ministers in the Irish government after the allegations emerged.