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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 October 2005, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Board calls for corruption report
Armoured police Land Rover
The case involved armour plating for police Land Rovers
The Policing Board is seeking an urgent report from the chief constable after a judge called for a criminal investigation into alleged corruption.

The board wants to know what actions the police have been taking following Wednesday's court judgement which saw a company awarded a 400,000 pay-out.

The judge said there was evidence someone within the police service deliberately undermined the company.

This lost them a contract to supply armour plating for vehicles, he said.

The police have already said they are to begin an inquiry. A police spokesman said an independent expert would review issues raised in the court case.

The damages were awarded to NI Sheet Metal Works Ltd.

The Belfast-based company took an action for breach of contract after Firth Rixson Castings Ltd was awarded the contract, at an extra cost of 350,000.

High Court judge Sir Liam McCollum said once legal costs had been taken into account, the wasteful loss of public funds was in the region of 1m.

Sir Liam said: "It is difficult to attribute an innocent motive or to absolve any person involved in the decision-making process."

Three-year contract

The judge said NI Sheet Metal Works was awarded the three-year contract in June 2001.

He said doubts and reservations were later expressed about the company's ability to carry out the contract for no apparent reason.

The firm was asked to supply further steel samples for testing, which led to an allegation that the second set was not of the same quality as the first, meaning it did not comply with the contract.

Sir Liam said First Rixson Castings was employed instead, "at a greatly increased price".

However, a later test proved that both samples were for all practical purposes the same steel, the judge said.

"There is evidence that the report of this test, which might have saved the contract, may have been suppressed within the PSNI team responsible for the contract," added the judge.

"In addition, it may have been deliberately removed from the list of documents made available for discovery in the action."

Police probe after contract court
12 Oct 05 |  Northern Ireland
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08 Oct 05 |  Northern Ireland

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