Two jailed for trying to bribe a council official

Muzaffar Hussain SUS-160315-124147001
Muzaffar Hussain SUS-160315-124147001

Two men tried to bribe a council officer to maintain a £1 million school transport contract.

But the officer reported the pair to his bosses and they were jailed at Croydon Crown Court on Friday.

Saeed Shakir, aka Sid Owen, 46, of The Quarry, Betchworth, was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty in November 2015 to offering a bribe contrary to the Bribery Act 2010, while Muzaffar Hussain, aka Muz, 46, of Station Road, Redhill, was imprisoned for three years after being found guilty of the same offence on 12 February 2016. Both men were sentenced at Croydon Crown Court.

The offence took place on December 2013, when Shakir offered the bribe to a contracts compliance officer with Surrey County Council, on behalf of his friend Hussain, who was a director of a taxi company called Road Runners Gatwick Ltd.

At the time Road Runners had a million pound contract with the county council to provide home to school transport. However, problems had arisen with the contract, due to the company not managing a number of the routes satisfactorily, and were about to be penalised by having these routes taken away from them.

Shakir arranged a meeting with the council officer, at which he offered him a £500 cash bribe along with a promise of ongoing payments of a four figure sum, to be negotiated with Hussain.

The council employee reported the matter straightaway to his line manager and group manager, who subsequently contacted Surrey Police.

Officers worked alongside the county council throughout the investigation.

The taxi company’s £1 million contract with the county council was subsequently terminated in December 2013.

Detective Constable Pete Irvine, of Surrey Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “This investigation has resulted in the imprisonment of these two men and demonstrates how seriously we take allegations of bribery. These men took desperate action when they realised the contracts were about to be taken away but their plan has backfired on them thanks to the victim, who became suspicious before the meeting and had the foresight to record the offer of the bribe on his mobile phone. He then acted with integrity and professionalism by reporting the matter to his line manager straightaway.”

Surrey County Council’s Travel and Transport Group Manager Paul Millin said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to anyone attempting to bribe our staff so as soon as I was made aware of what happened I reported it to Surrey Police. We have been working closely with them since the incident and are pleased with the outcome of the case. We hope this will send out a strong message that this behaviour will not be tolerated and will be dealt with severely.”