LOTHIAN & BORDERS POLICE have announced four former Council employees and 11 contractors have been charged over corruption & other illegal activity at the City of Edinburgh Council’s property services, ranging from money laundering to fraud. The arrests may also be related to the Statutory Repair Notice investigation, which takes in repair notices forced on Edinburgh residents who were forced by the Council to pay for building repair notices served by allegedly corrupt Council officials who are said to have benefited financially from the scam.
Furthermore, the arrests, reported in the Scottish media are said to be the tip of the iceberg, with insiders branding the City Council as “totally corrupt”, leading to questions over why nothing was done earlier about the seemingly long term evidence of corruption.
Daily Record newspaper reports :
Jun 29 2012 By Jack Mathieson
POLICE probing allegations of corruption among council staff and building contractors are expected to make more arrests.
Insiders say the 15 people charged earlier this week in the investigation into repair programmes in Edinburgh are the “tip of the iceberg”.
Four former employees of the city’s property care department have been charged with corruption and fraud.
A further 11, including contractors and family and friends of council workers, were charged with fraud, corruption and money laundering, believed to relate to attempts to conceal payments.
Police are preparing a report for the procurator fiscal on the property care department, which handles maintenance of community buildings and schools.
But a separate report on the statutory notices system, which allows the council to order repairs to private homes, is already with the fiscal, although no charges have yet been brought.
This scheme has been plagued by allegations of bribery, overcharging and unnecessary and poor-quality work.
Our sources said some contractors were involved in both lines of work but the complex statutory notice system meant collusion between staff and contractors was harder to prove.
An insider said: “It was looking into the statutory notices scheme that led them to what was going on with property care staff.”
Former councillor Ewan Aitken campaigned for a full investigation into the repair work. He said: “I do not believe this will be the end of the arrests and I hope they negate the damage to the city’s reputation.”
The Herald newspaper reports :
Published on 28 June 2012
FOUR former council employees and 11 contractors have been charged by police investigating corruption claims at a Scottish local authority.
The arrests were made by officers from Lothian and Borders police looking into alleged illegal activity at the City of Edinburgh Council's property services.
The former council workers are all men, aged between 42 and 62, who worked at the Property Care Department. The other nine men and two women are aged between 30 and 64. All have been charged in connection with corruption, fraud and money laundering offences.
All 15 arrests were made in connection with a wider police inquiry into the council's property services department, but are not linked to the Statutory Repair Notice investigation.
A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: "Our investigation into alleged corruption and fraud involving former employees of City of Edinburgh Council's Property Care Department has resulted in a number of individuals being charged.
"The four former employees have been charged with alleged corruption and fraud with regard to repairs carried out at council buildings in Edinburgh. As part of the same enquiry, nine men and two women have been charged with alleged fraud, corruption and money laundering offences."
Edinburgh councillor Ewan Aitken said: "I believe this is the first of many arrests. Anyone who has conducted fraud against the people of Edinburgh should be brought to justice."
A police report has also been submitted to the procurator-fiscal following an investigation into the operation of the Statutory Repair Notice Scheme, but no charges have been brought.
The department has been accused of overcharging for repairs. At least four employees have left their posts.
More than 500 complaints have been received and it has been reported the council could face a bill of £13.5 million to correct matters.
The allegations stem from the fact the property conservation department often issues statutory notices for buildings that need work done to make them safe, arranges the job through contractors, then recoups the cash from owners .
The council charges homeowners 15% on top of the repair bill to cover surveys and administrative expenses – but many have claimed their bills have been vastly inflated.