Ferries scandal Scotland: Findings of KC’s investigation into alleged ‘rigged’ Ferguson Marine contract to be published

Caledonian Maritime Assets expects ‘substantive summary’ to be made available

A summary of the King’s Counsel’s investigation into alleged rigging of the Ferguson Marine CalMac ferries contract will be published, the Scottish Government’s ferry-buying firm has told Scotland on Sunday.

The move follows demands from MSPs for disclosure of the results of the probe, which was ordered by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (Cmal) after claims in a BBC Scotland documentary that the order for Glen Sannox and sister vessel 802 had been fixed in favour of the Port Glasgow shipyard.

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The two vessels are due to be completed in 2024 for the main Arran route six years late and for more than three times their original £97 million price.

Glen Sannox at the Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow last month. (Photo by Alastair Dalton/The Scotsman)Glen Sannox at the Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow last month. (Photo by Alastair Dalton/The Scotsman)
Glen Sannox at the Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow last month. (Photo by Alastair Dalton/The Scotsman)

Cmal chief executive Kevin Hobbs said he expected the findings to be published after the report was completed around September. However, he said there was still no sign of any wrongdoing. Cmal had previously been non-committal over publication.

Mr Hobbs said: "A substantive executive summary is what we’re anticipating would be public, but the full report with the narrative of every question and every answer, and people’s names, is not something which will be released.

"We have got no indication whatsoever internally that anything was done that falls into the category of fraud, rigging or personal gain – it’s simply not there.

"All the interviews are now concluded and we would expect to see a report in the next couple of months. The only reason it won’t arrive is if the KC has found fraud, at which point it goes straight to the procurator fiscal.

"We will not be issuing a full report because it would have every single interviewee and their interview appended to it. That’s not going to happen because it’s not a legal obligation – we’ve asked people to become engaged in this voluntarily. Every single person that was approached has, we understand, said yes, they will be involved.”

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Mr Hobbs said most of those questioned were former Cmal employees – “anybody that’s had any sort of fingerprint on this”. However, he was not interviewed himself as he didn’t join the firm until March 2016 – six months after the contract was signed when the yard was owned by SNP-supporting businessman Jim McColl.

He said it had been Cmal’s decision to order an independent investigation because of the gravity of the claims. He said: "You can do an internal investigation, you could get the Scottish Government to investigate us, but we felt it was such a serious allegation that we wanted it to be done completely independently.”

Scottish Conservatives net zero, energy and transport spokesperson Douglas Lumsden said: “SNP ministers must guarantee this report will be published in full, now that Cmal has made this commitment.

“Cover-up and secrecy have been at the heart of the SNP’s ferry scandal and nobody has taken any responsibility. The public who have seen hundreds of millions of their money wasted deserve to know whether the award process was rigged and which senior figures were responsible.”

Scottish Labour transport spokesperson said Alex Rowley said: "This is a welcome change and will hopefully give more insight into what actually happened.

"But we don't just need transparency in this part of the story, we need it on everything surrounding this fiasco.”



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