Friday, April 18, 2008

Better than an Agatha Christie for YOU

It's the weekend. So being cold, wet, and with a bankrupt UK, here's a good mystery for you to solve with plenty of clues to assist you.

Carillion, one of the largest Building Contractors in the UK has now pleaded to the Office of Fair Trading for mercy because its been found to be ripping you off big time for deviously obtained contracts. So who is behind Carillion the rip off merchants? Well, for a start, we have Baroness Vanda Murray: not only an important person at Carillion, but also a Director of the North West Development Agency, who are big supporters of the Bypass scheme which is being built by - Carillion.

Appointed by Lord Sainsbury, the Baroness also declares her interests in the Cheshire Building Society, a Phone Company and, sod me, the UK Audit Commission. And, if you want to see how she manipulates money have a shufty here.

Now try and keep up, because who else is very important friend to the North West Development Agency? Well it's Councillor Roy Oldham of Tameside (who also wants the Bypass) which is being built for you by Carillion.

Now Carillion have been exposed by the Office of Fair Trading, the BBC, and the Press as being crooked and they really are in the shit deep, but never fear it gets better! Who gave the Bypass contract to Carillion (a Company who overcharges according to the OFT)? Well, using Freedom of Information legislation, I asked the Highways Agency in Manchester who the members of the Panel awarding the Bypass contract are. At first, they preferred to say "we won't tell you, it's not in the public interest" - well it's in my bloody interest to know because I am contributing to the soon to be a £200 million Bypass! So then after an appeal - because it is in the Public's interest according to common sense, out came the 4 names who decided to give the contract to Carillion (the crooked company).

First out of the trap is Stephen Greenhalgh, the infamous vanishing Bypass project leader who, everyone knows, became exceedingly skilled at apologising to the Public Inquiry almost every day because his evidence was exposed as absolute crap. But why should he be concerned? It's only YOUR money from YOUR pocket to the tune of £9.5 million to Carillion/Mowlem & Associates spent on totally useless error ridden evidence which stopped the Inquiry 5 times. Not to worry, Carillion and friends will be charging again for the new evidence it's taking a year to produce, so the past lot of evidence must have really been expensive shit thrown at the Public Inquiry.

Next, is another member of the Highways Panel who awarded the contract to the crooks, and another Highways Agency associate of Stephen Greenhalgh - one John Hornagold (funny old Norfolk name but spelt the same as one of the UK's largest Building Contractors owned by an S Hornagold from Essex). He was closely involved with the Cumbrian Bypass scheme, which was handy because it's believed he resides in a very swish area called Arnside on the approach to The Lakes.

Number three on the Panel was Ziad El-Balbisi of the Highways Agency (not really an independant panel as yet!) - no known track record as yet.

The fourth member of this Panel who awarded the multi-million contracts for the Bypass was Irvin Peacock of Mott MacDonald (the Employers Agent), again one of the largest Contractors in the UK. Now Irvin is shown as being from Mott MacDonald Group Ltd Sheffield as a Project Engineer, so it's likely he knows all the major contractors such as Carillion (i.e. the bent ones) and he was also directly involved in the traffic surveys concerning the Bypass scheme via Mott MacDonald, which as we know turned out also to be crap.

So of the 4 members of the contract awarding Panel, 2 have created incorrect evidence for the Public Inquiry. Yet they are deemed able to award a £200 million contract to Carillion - is their efficiency to spend that £200 million of any merit ?

Well, it can only get more confusing regarding who knows who and in what context.

In addition to all this, the Public Inquiry Witness Brian Witten is also a Director of Matt Macdonald, so obviously it must presumed knows Irvin Peacock, the person involved in awarding HA contracts to large Construction Companies. Another Witness at the PI is Adrian Rowe from Carillion.

Then we have the assortment of Public Inquiry witnesses for the Bypass including:

John Greiller, a Director of Hyder Consulting
Stewart Lowther, another Director of Hyder Consulting
Robert Kitch of Hyder Consulting
J Hunter of Hyder Consulting
Sergio Solera of Hyder Consulting
Andrew Bean of Hyder Consulting
Adrian Rowe of Hyder Consulting

Now Hyder Consulting has connections with Carillion but let's leave that for the next time we blog.

But the following facts are also interesting:

At a Bypass Public Meeting in 2001, the Chair stated "SPITS have a remit to reduce traffic on quite a number of routes (in the Park). SPITS is responsible at the moment for the strategy on these routes. SPITS have explained how this improvement can be done. SPITS are seeking to transfer traffic onto the A628 to improve other areas of the Park." Does that mean that SPITS knows the real truth is being hidden?

The SPITS Business Plan (opens PDF) identifies the following aims:

"Traffic restraint e.g. speed reduction measures and traffic calming on all Trans-Pennine routes and class A And B roads south of the M62 and north of the A50 except the A57/A628/A616 corridor" (our emphasis).

So here comes your Trans Continental Road Route from Ireland, Liverpool, Manchester, M67, M1, Humberside Ports, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Baltic States, your Northern Corridor NETA Plan. So please don't tell me it's for the 3 Villages, that's pure spin as they force their route through the Peak District National Park and along the Longdendale Valley.

To end with a laugh: Peter Bibby, one-time Tameside Councillor for Longdendale stated at a Public Meeting in 2001:

"The Council supports a bypass ... this has been going on for 70 years and the M62 is overloaded".

Now which of you had a Car or a HGV in 1938 which was clogging up Mottram Moor? I want photographic evidence please!

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