Carlex strongly recommends that any site that believes it was scammed in the Peverel / Cirrus price-fixing scandal should raise the issue with either Sir Peter Bottomley or Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary.
Carlex will provide contacts for both.
The reason for this is that the Office of Fair Trading is in deep denial mode about its feeble investigation – which cost £500,000 – into the Peverel / Cirrus investigation. Members of the public will be better served if these issues are presented through a senior politician.
The OFT was suckered into a leniency deal with Peverel on ludicrous grounds – Peverel had been rumbled and there was no confession about it – and there is a lot of shame to cover up.
- Why the inquiry lasted four years – given Peverel’s co-operation, for example
- Why it only began in April 2011 – a full 15 months after Peverel supposedly came clean.
- Er … and is the OFT’s “investigation” worthy of the term, given that the Times outlined the scam on December 4 2009 making it public knowledge (before Peverel fessed up).
- And, lastly, why did the OFT announce another inquiry into leasehold management three days before the Cirrus “investigation” became public?
The OFT’s Cirrus investigation follows on from the pathetic one on fee. If this outfit does anything worthwhile in this sector it is going to need constant prodding and goading from senior politicians.
One must be vigilant.
Take this example of cleverness to that indefatigable letter-writer and occasional visitor to this parish, Michael Hollands.
We think Hollands’ concern was: if another Peverel site turns out to have been a victim of the Cirrus collusive tendering scandal on top of the 65 already identified, would it qualify for leniency as well?
Sarah Naylor, of the OFT, replies:
Thank you for your emails of 4 and 6 February 2014.
You have requested an urgent answer to your query: ‘If there was another inquiry and it threw up offences and unfair practice that Peverel had not disclosed to you in your inquiry, would Peverel’s right to leniency be forfeited and a fine imposed.’
I can say that, if the OFT did investigate other allegedly unlawful anti-competitive conduct by Peverel (either in respect of allegations of similar conduct between November 2005 and November 2009 as that which was found in the OFT’s recent Decision or other conduct), this would be unlikely to undermine the OFT’s decision to grant leniency in this investigation and therefore it would be unlikely to result in a fine being imposed …”
Here, Naylor is saying that if there was a completely separate inquiry on other matters that found Peverel had engaged in anti-competitive conduct, this would not affect the leniency deal agreed over Peverel / Cirrus investigation.
It does not mean that another site, wrongly left out of this Cirrus inquiry, would qualify for leniency.
Indeed, Carlex can assure residents of any site that was caught up in this disgraceful behaviour by Peverel and its subsidiaries, there will be no shortage of lawyers ready to take this up in the courts on a no-win, no-fee basis.
But the first step is to contact Bottomley or Davey.