Workers from five firms face charges over repairs scandal

Companies won contracts worth around �10.5m
Companies won contracts worth around �10.5m
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WORKERS from five companies have been charged as part of the city’s property scandal, the Evening News can reveal today.

Associates of the firms, which are based across Edinburgh and the Lothians, were charged on June 27 after a lengthy investigation into the city’s property care department.

The five companies involved are Action Building Contracts, which has since gone into administration, Corstorphine Roofing, KM Contracts, 
J Walker Painting & Decorating and Euro Environmental Contracts Ltd.

Also charged are four ex-council employees and six associates of council workers.

Although most of the companies would not comment about the charges – which include fraud, corruption and money laundering – J Walker Painting & Decorating, in Broxburn, slammed the charges against them as “ridiculous”.

Director John Walker said: “I will be fighting it vigorously all the way.”

A Freedom of Information response revealed Action Building Contracts, which closed down in September 2011, received more than 1000 contracts between 2006 and 2010 worth more than £10.5 million, even though it was not on a council-approved list.

Former directors of the firm continue to run a scaffolding company, ASC, which is understood to have received contracts from the council since Action Building Contracts went into administration.

It is believed that the scaffolding company continued to be sub-contracted for statutory repairs projects, although it has recently been suspended from receiving council work, along with a number of other firms.

The charges were made following an investigation by police into property care, which deals with the maintenance of public buildings, including schools, community centres, libraries and public toilets.

It is understood that there will be no charges within the property conservation department.

A further nine staff from property conservation remain suspended, including an alleged whistleblower, and two have been sacked. Further sackings are expected to take place in forthcoming weeks. Senior staff who were suspended, including property conservation manager Brian Sibbald and former head of services Bill Ness, have since left their roles.

Action Building Contracts dealt with building and roofing work, Corstorphine Roofing primarily carries out roofing work, including slate and flat roofing, KM Contracts, based in Midlothian, specialises in flat roofing, and Euro Environmental Contracts Ltd, which has offices across the UK, tackles drainage and pipe cleaning.

None of these firms were willing or available to comment.

The city council refused to comment on the charges.