Three SFO incompetents who also cleaned up over Tchenguiz – with bumper pay-offs!
The Serious Fraud office has just paid Vincent Tchenguiz and his companies £3 million, plus another £3m in legal costs, but what of the other payments made by the SFO?
Bumper pay-offs to its incompetent staff who messed this case up, that is.
In 2013 Parliamentary Accounts Committee thoroughly castigated the SFO for the odd way in which senior staff left the organisation during the Tchenguiz case and the payouts they received. Will we ever know why the payments were made?
Phillippa Williamson joined as CEO at the SFO in 2008 and would go on to earn a salary of approximately £120,000.
She was ultimately the person in charge of the Tchenguiz debacle.
Somehow she became entitled to a pay-off of a staggering £513,694 after being made “redundant” in April 2012 just a month before the judicial review of what would go on to become the failed Tchenguiz case.
Subsequently, it would also be found she had been wrongly delegated with decision-making powers by the then director Richard Alderman.
Williamson was also criticised for being allowed, by Alderman, to work two days a week from home – in the Lake District. She was paid large amounts – more than £100,000 – to travel to London to do some work on the three days a week it is asserted that she appeared in her office.
Current employment is not known. Repayment to the state £0.00
Then we come to Chief Capability Officer and then Chief Operating Officer Christian Bailes.
Total payout £487,585 owing to redundancy again, agreed by Mr Alderman. This included a payment for staying on requested by Mr Green “to ensure continuity”.
Current location: seems to have just appeared at Control Risks. More here Repayment to the state £0.00
As the article states, “Chris manages a broad array of complex investigations into fraud, corruption and other ethical breaches, supported by teams in the UK, Germany, France, Russia, Benelux, Nordics, Iberia, and Africa.”
Both payments criticised by Parliament along with the actions of Alderman.
It seems a coincidence the people at the top of the SFO got things so wrong in the Tchenguiz investigation and suddenly left without a blemish on their record.
As for the much criticised Director Alderman himself, he also left the SFO just as the Tchenguiz case collapsed.
“I have been working with some international institutions and NGOs dealing with anti-corruption on the front line. This is what I wanted to do because I had met a number of individuals who inspired me. Recent examples are the Convention on Business Integrity in Nigeria and an initiative by the Egyptian Junior Business Association aimed at the vibrant SME sector in Egypt. I have also had the privilege of meeting individuals involved in the radical transformation of the procurement practices of Moscow City Council.”
In a stinging report published in July last year, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee berated the SFO for presiding over a “catalogue of errors and poor judgement” in doling out pay-offs to failed executives.
The MPs said: “The former director’s decisions on redundancy and severance packages showed a disregard for the proper use of taxpayers’ money. Mr Alderman failed to follow due process by deciding the amounts in special severance packages and by not seeking alternative placements for staff.
“He ignored legal advice available to him and did not gain the necessary Cabinet Office and Treasury approval for payments. He failed to comply with the principles that should underpin the use of public money.”
The committee published a letter that Mr Alderman sent to it days after a gruelling evidence session before it in which he admitted it was “justified” in criticising his actions and offered his “deep and unreserved apology”.
The report found that Mr Alderman’s actions and decisions took place amid a culture where external advice and scrutiny was “to be avoided wherever possible” and with an “apparent need for secrecy”.
It said: “This catalogue of errors amounts to a case study in how not to run a public body… We look to the Cabinet Office and the Treasury for safeguards to ensure there is no repeat of this debacle.”