Task force presents interim report30.06.2014
The task force set up by Airport CEO Hartmut Mehdorn in light of the allegations of corruption against a senior member of staff of FBB today presented its interim report to the Supervisory Board. According to the report, the suspicions against the former member of airport staff have been substantiated. The report states that ‘it involves vertical price-fixing agreements and kick-back schemes as well as horizontal price-fixing agreements between various tenderers.’ Initial investigations had focused on client-contractor agreements (vertical price-fixing agreements). However, the task force came across indications of price-fixing agreements between individual tenderers (horizontal agreements). FBB is currently unable to conclude as to what extent the actions of the individuals involved are punishable.
The public prosecutor’s office has, however, broadened the scope of its investigations to include agreements between tenderers. The task force examined agreements, documents from the contracting procedure as well as other documents for its report.
A series of interviews were also conducted with those involved to clarify facts.
Impact on costs and schedules not yet clear
The task force’s report includes further findings: the impact on costs and schedules is currently still unclear. What is clear, however, is that a large number of necessary plan allocations are only possible with a delay. FBB will eliminate areas of weakness in its own organisation and adapt its organisational structure. In particular, revising the rules and regulations for employing external staff. The planner contracts already concluded will remain effective for the time being. According to the task force, however, continued employment depends on ‘whether the companies concerned take so-called self-cleaning measures’.
Following the Supervisory Board meeting, Mehdorn said: ‘The task force findings show that the airport project will not emerge from these allegations of corruption unscathed. The former colleague has caused serious damage to the company with his actions. Nevertheless, appointing a task force to work on the case was the right move. In future, we will have to be even more careful when awarding contracts. It will be more time-consuming, but unavoidable.’
FBB has submitted the findings of the task force investigations to the specialised public prosecutor’s office in Neuruppin handling the case. The task force is made up of airport solicitors and auditors, external solicitors and anti-corruption experts as well as an independent observer who monitors compliance with the Integrity Pact concluded in 2005 between FBB and Transparency International.
Events leading up to the allegations of corruption: In late May, after having received a tip-off from Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH, the public prosecutor’s office in Neuruppin had the offices of two people accused of corruption as well as the private rooms of the main person suspected of corruption searched. Suspicions were raised following a conversation with the representative of an international firm responsible for technical planning. The public prosecutor’s office is now talking of a ‘classic case of corrupt business transactions’.
Background information on corruption prevention at FBB:
- Even before work began on building BER, FBB had concluded an integrity agreement in early 2005 with the independent organisation Transparency International Deutschland e.V. to prevent corruption and illegal agreements during construction. The airport company was the first company at that time in Germany to have appointed an independent external observer in the form of Prof. Peter Oettel, who has since been responsible for monitoring compliance with the integrity agreement.
- In 2010, FBB stepped up its corruption prevention activities, enabling airport company employees and external third parties such as contractors, service providers or business partners to contact an internal anti-corruption officer or external ombudswoman if they suspect corruption or have any questions. Both will follow up on any tip-offs or suspected cases of, for example, corruption, fraud, white-collar crime or embezzlement.