Bus Éireann publishes corruption reports

State company releases two versions of report into corruption claims against staff

Bus Eireann: The State-owned company recently completed its own investigation into claims that staff in regional offices accepted bribes.

Bus Eireann: The State-owned company recently completed its own investigation into claims that staff in regional offices accepted bribes.

Fri, May 30, 2014, 01:00

Bus Éireann published two different versions of a report that found there was no evidence to support claims of corruption against staff responsible for operating the €160 million a-year school transport service.

The State-owned company recently completed its own investigation into claims that staff in regional offices accepted bribes, such as foreign holidays, from private bus companies in return for contracts to operate school services and found there were no grounds to support these allegations.

It gave copies of a report detailing its findings to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, and ministers of State, Alan Kelly and Ciaran Cannon, and subsequently published it on its website.

However it has emerged that there are a number of significant differences between the report given to the ministers and the version that appeared on its website. The company yesterday acknowledged the discrepancies yesterday but said that they were not intentional.

The copy given to Mr Varadkar and his colleagues contains the following statement on pages two and 13: “Whereas we cannot categorically conclude that it has never happened, there is no evidence to suggest that any gift has been accepted by any individual in a manner that breaches the company’s code of business ethics.

“As regards the allegation of corruption we have found no evidence to suggest that there is/was deliberate exclusion of any party from the tendering process or that any party obtained a contract by improper or corrupt means.”

Investigation

However, the version available on its website does not include that passage anywhere, despite the fact that it is central to the investigation and its findings.

Similarly, in a section dealing with evidence given to the investigation by contractors, the document given to the Government points out that one such contractors’ was suspended from the schools’ service following a vehicle audit and is “under review”.

However, the later version says that the operator had his contract terminated following complaints from one of the schools involved.

The contractor, who is not named, denied one aspect of the allegations put to him about Bus Éireann staff and refused to comment on a number of others.

In a statement yesterday, the company confirmed that there were discrepancies between the versions given to the ministers and the one it subsequently published.

“This was not intentional and was the result of drafts of the report being created, and edited, as required,” Bus Éireann said. “There was a high volume of information given to the ministers and subsequently uploaded to our website.

“An oversight occurred during the publication process and we now intend to rectify that.”

A number of appendices were dropped from the published version. One document in particular contains sensitive personal information about one of the individuals involved in the process, who is also readily identifiable from that document.

The investigation and report were completed at Mr Varadkar’s request.

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