Further to the contents of an email from Jeff Dickie last month, who was writing from a hotel on Orchard Road at the time:
Supplied. ODT 13.7.15 (page 6)
INVOICE FRAUD AND MORE
TWO corrupt council officials and two businessmen who supplied them with cash and hospitality have been jailed with a warning they face “significant” sentences.
### HeraldScotland.com Wednesday 17 June 2015
Corrupt Edinburgh council officials face lengthy jail term
[…] Former local authority employees Charles Owenson and James Costello were treated to dances and drinks in lap dancing bars as valuable Edinburgh City Council contracts were secured through bribery. Ex-directors of Action Building Contracts Ltd (ABC Ltd) Kevin Balmer and Brendan Cantwell provided the rewards over the allocation of work for public buildings including schools, care homes and cemeteries.
Following their earlier guilty pleas a sheriff told them that he would continue their case until tomorrow for sentencing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to consider the information he had been given. But Sheriff Michael O’Grady QC told the four men: “Having regard to the gravity of the offences, it is clear to me the sentences will require to be custodial and require to be significant.” He remanded all of them in jail ahead of sentencing.
Owenson and Costello were provided with hospitality, including corporate seats at Hibs and Hearts football grounds and meals out as well as cash, by Edinburgh-based construction firm ABC Ltd (Action Building Contracts). The contractors even submitted inflated invoices to the local authority for work carried out to cover the costs of the bribes they were paying council officials. Fiscal Keith O’Mahony earlier told the court: “In essence, the council was being charged for the cost of bribing its own officials.”
[…] Police began carrying out enquiries in 2010 as a result of complaints about the statutory notices system and were later informed that senior management had received “a whistleblower letter” alleging that Owenson was showing favouritism when allocating work to contractors. The Crown has raised proceedings to recover crime profits in the case.
Shades of the ‘Screaming Orgasm cocktails’ saga following Dunedin City Council’s decision to build the stadium. That evening, the board members of Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust went out to celebrate, booking their drinks at Alibi Bar & Restaurant to the Ratepayers.
Of course, there have been masses of local big-ticket ‘corruptions': the stadium land purchases (including for realignment of SH88); the Carisbrook ‘deal’ with Otago Rugby Football Union, and further ‘Otago Rugby’ deals with Dunedin Venues (DVML); the Delta subdivisions and service contracts (Jacks Point and Luggate, and more recently Noble Village); the unravelling Citifleet fraud and insurance scam (substantially greater than 152 fleet vehicles lost off the inventory, allied to ‘traffic’ in car parts, tyres, service contracts, and fluid cash); the Dunedin Town Hall Redevelopment Project (via City Property) yet to be fully detailed; and field lights for Otago Cricket Association…….. et al.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr