But firm finds evidence of ‘bullying’ and the possible ‘falsification’ of records on £500m National Grid contract
Balfour Beatty has found evidence of “bullying” and the “falsification” of records on a £500m gas contract in the West Midlands but “no evidence of systemic bribery and corruption” following an investigation.
Earlier this month, it emerged that the construction giant was looking into “allegations of improper conduct” concerning the award of subcontracts on the National Grid gas pipe replacement contract in the West Midlands.
Balfour Beatty said the investigation was “focused on localised behaviour by a small group of individuals working for Balfour Beatty involved with subcontracting in the West Midlands contract”.
Reporting the findings of its investigation today, the firm said it had found “no evidence of systemic bribery and corruption” and “nothing on the scale that was alleged”.
However, it added there was some evidence of “localised bullying”.
The firm also said: “We did uncover some evidence to suggest that payments totalling less than £1,000 may have been made before Balfour Beatty took over the contract.”
The firm said there was also “some evidence” that “a small number of employees may have been involved in falsification of dates as to when work was done on ‘track sheets’”.
But it said the falsification led to “no financial benefit to Balfour Beatty or to individuals, nor would it have influenced the choice of a subcontractor”.
It said the investigation had concluded “that the processes and controls used by Balfour Beatty and put in place mean it would be extremely difficult for any employee working on the operational side of the business to exert significant, improper influence on the choice of a subcontractor for the contract”.
It added: “These measures involve separation of the commercial and operational aspects of letting subcontracts, so the chance of individuals receiving payments for selection of subcontractors on the scale alleged is extremely unlikely.”
Balfour Beatty said it had launched its investigation following allegations of corruption in an anonymous letter that alleged that individuals were receiving payments in return for giving work to subcontractors.
Balfour Beatty was awarded the contract, which is part of the National Grid’s Gas Distribution Strategic Partnership (GDSP), in 2012.