CM News: Council official sacked after attempted bribe …

Announcement Date: 30th April 2012

Another Edinburgh City Council official has been sacked amid a continuing investigation into an alleged £30 Million housing repairs scam.

The senior staff member was caught asking a private maintenance contractor to pay a four-figure sum towards a holiday. But the builder, which did not hand over the bribe, raised the alarm with the council, reports The Construction Index.

The bent official is the latest of eight staff to be dismissed and 13 suspended during the Council’s major fraud probe, which is investigating claims from residents of bribery, overcharging, unnecessary and poor quality work at the Property Conservation division.

Edinburgh City Council uses a system of statutory notices to ensure essential repairs are carried out on its historic tenements.

Under the statutory notice system, Edinburgh City Council can intervene to organise repair work on private properties when the owners of shared buildings cannot reach agreement.

It is the only city in the UK where council surveyors can arrange the work through approved contractors and recoup the cash from owners. The local authority also receives 15% of the final bill.

The value of statutory notices issued by council surveyors has increased dramatically in recent years, from £9.2m in 2005 to more than £30m in 2010.

Under the probe, council workers have been accused of cosying up to contractors, accepting bribes and favouring certain building companies for lucrative jobs. Contractors also face accusations of hiking up final bills by as much as 20 times the original estimate, charging for fictional or sub-standard work and completing work that did not need to be done.

To see the original article in Construction Manager News, click here.