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Alandale closes track and civils arm after fraud fine

Alandale has dissolved its track and civils business after being landed with a £25,000 fine over fraud charges.

Four men were jailed last month for their parts in an operation to make and receive payments in order to win contracts on the Farringdon station upgrade project in London.

Innocent Obiekwe, a senior health and safety manager at Costain / Laing O’Rourke joint venture CoLOR, alongside Kevin McKee and John Zayya of Alandale Rail Ltd and William Waring of Qualitas, were handed jail sentences after pleading guilty to corruption at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Alandale Track & Civils Limited, formerly Alandale Rail, was fined £25,000 after the court found it had “failed to take adequate measures to prevent the elaborate and extensive fraud upon itself”.

Mr Zayya was appointed at Alandale Rail Limited as sole director in October 2009, while Alandale said he had brought in the three co-defendants as “consultants” to the company.

In a statement released today, Alandale said it had been “wholly unaware of the activities of the four gaoled defendants”, and that it had been defrauded of more than £350,000 due to their actions.

The company added that its board had decided to dissolve Alandale Track & Civils “with immediate effect”.

“The group had put in place controls sufficient to ensure that never again will it be the unwitting vehicle for bribery, or itself the victim of fraud,” the company added.

It added that Mr Zayya had been “summarily dismissed” from the company prior to the trial.

Alandale Rail workers Mr McKee, 57, from Maidenhead, and Mr Zayya, 51, from Catford, made corrupt payments to Mr Obiekwe, 42, from Edgware, in exchange for help securing the contract to supply safety-critical staff at Farringdon.

Mr Obiekwe (pictured top, left) was responsible for ensuring the health and safety procedures on the upgrade of Farringdon as part of Network Rail’s multi-billion-pound Thameslink project.

According to the British Transport Police, which had been investigating the case since 2011, Mr Obiekwe provided information to Alandale Rail that influenced the tender process and ensured Alandale could undercut bids made by competitors.

After Alandale Rail won the contract through corruption, Mr McKee (below, left), Mr Zayya (top, right) and Mr Obiekwe defrauded CoLOR by claiming for so-called “ghost worker” shifts, in which payments were claimed for workers who never attended the site or carried out work.

Kevin McKee and William Waring

Kevin McKee and William Waring

Kevin McKee and William Waring

Invoices and timesheets were then falsified to disguise the bogus claims.

Mr McKee pleaded guilty to charges of corruption, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering in September 2016 and was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment and disqualified from being a director for eight years.

Mr Obiekwe and Mr Zayya both pleaded guilty to corruption on 22 May 2017 and were sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified from being directors for eight years.

Mr Waring (above, right) pleaded guilty to corruption and money laundering on 21 June 2017 and was sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified from being a director for eight years.

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