Task Force Goes to Work02.06.2014
Path to completion of BER has been set: smoke removal must be rebuilt
Airport CEO Hartmut Mehdorn spoke today to the Supervisory Board of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GMBH (FBB), bringing its members up to date on the latest findings on the allegations of corruptions against an executive employee at FBB. Mehdorn emphasised that all of the awarded contracts handled by the employee who is now under suspicion of corruption will be investigated by a task force created specifically for this purpose. The task force members include legal experts and examiners from the company, outside legal experts, anti-corruption experts and a representative from Transparency International. During the Supervisory Board meeting, Mehdorn declared: “We will not budge from our zero tolerance policy on corruption. We will again alert the public prosecutor’s office if the slightest hint of suspicion arises. The task force will clarify the circumstances and submit an interim report by the time of the next Supervisory Board meeting on 30 June; the report will be used by the Supervisory Board as the basis for its discussions of the case.”
Path to completion of BER has been set
Some members of the media speculated over the past weekend that the smoke removal planning would have to be reviewed in its entirety as a consequence of the suspected corruption. FBB unequivocally rejects any such necessity. The opening of BER Airport has had to be postponed a number of times because the fire protection systems proved to be too complex and unmanageable. Airport CEO Mehdorn: “The fire protection systems were not approvable. In August 2013, we sat down with planners, assessors, the TÜV and the Building Authority to discuss the key elements of the planning which would lead to the approval of the fire protection. The systems must be simplified and the equipment must be designed to ensure more effective management. This will require a rebuilding of the fire protection systems. There have been no changes in this respect. Everyone involved in the project, including the approving authorities, understands this. This has not been thought up by an individual sitting off in a quiet room somewhere. We are currently reviewing the possible impact of the allegations of corruption on the BER time schedule. The search for a successor to the employee who is under suspicion has begun.”
Background on the current case of suspected corruption: Responding to a report from Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH, the public prosecutor’s office in Neuruppin conducted a search of the offices of two accused associates and the private premises of the chief suspect as part of the investigation of suspected corruption at the airport. Suspicion arose after a conversation with the representatives of a company which operates internationally in the sector of technical planning. The public prosecutor’s office now speaks of a “classic model of corruption in business dealings.”
Background to prevention of corruption at FBB:
- Even before construction at BER began, FBB concluded an integrity agreement aimed at preventing corruption and illegal agreements during construction work with the independent organisation Transparency International Deutschland e.V. in 2005. The airport company engaged Professor Peter Oettel to act as an impartial outside observer, and he has been monitoring compliance with the integrity agreement since that time. This was the first time any company in Germany had taken this step.
- In 2010, FBB reinforced its corruption prevention measures even further. Since that time, airport company employees and external third parties such as contractors, service providers or business partners can turn to an internal anti-corruption officer and/or an external ombudswoman to submit possible alerts and questions. Both of these people follow up on any alerts and suspected cases of corruption, fraud, white-collar crime, embezzlement or similar crimes.