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Persons Charged Following Enquiry Into Alleged Tipperary School Bus Cartel.

School Transport.

It is understood that 14 persons have been charged regarding their alleged involvement in a cartel that is said to have rigged tenders to operate school transport routes, here in Co. Tipperary and further afield in Co. Waterford, Co. Limerick and Co. Kilkenny.

Bid rigging in public procurement situations can be particularly harmful; artificially increasing prices and ultimately costs, while reducing the quality of services the State provides.

Same legal action now follows on from investigations carried out by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission‘ (CCPC).

The enquiry by the CCPC had focused on supposed alleged abuse of the State school bus system, latter which undertakes to transport some 100,000 children each day (or some 40 million journeys annually), between students rural homes and their places of education.

Bus Éireann, latter which operates the service on behalf of the Department of Education utilize a tendering process, using the government’s tenders portal, before hiring some 4000 subcontractors, who in turn are obliged to bid, in order to operate specific rural school bus routes.

The submission to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) follows an enquiry into alleged “price rigging” in Co. Tipperary, which is said to have begun initially back in 2016. The CCPC claim to have received a letter from an anonymous insider; latter who has provided information about this continued practise and which officials believed may to be more widespread here in the Irish Republic.

The anonymous letter is understood to contain details of various meetings and calls, which it is alleged took place between those involved, before tenders were eventually submitted to operate certain school runs.

The CCPC, working in conjunction with officers from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau are understood to have raided some 20 premises. and subsequent charges follow an examination by the DPP of the evidence gathered by the CCPC.

The regulatory agency has now opened a Confidential Telephone Line [Tel. No. 087 7631378] for any person wishing to make further disclosures in relation to this alleged abuse of the State School Bus service.

Note: The Cartel Immunity Programme operated by the CCPC, in conjunction with Director of Public Prosecutions, means that a member of a cartel may avoid prosecution if they are the first member to come forward, reveal their involvement in illegal cartel activity and fully co-operate with the investigation.

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