Qatari developer backs claims Carillion lied to MPs

The Qatari developer blamed by collapsed Carillion for much of its woes has said again that Carillion bosses misled MPs, and has submitted a private document containing what it says is evidence to the UK parliamentary joint committee.

Msheireb Properties said today it had given investigating MPs "financial and contractual information" that proved former bosses made several misleading allegations concerning the £493m ($650m) contract Carillion won in 2011 on the $5.5bn Msheireb Downtown redevelopment in Doha (pictured).

The developer said it was "currently exploring all legal options" and would not make public the details of its submission to the joint enquiry into Carillion by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Work and Pensions committees.

Giving evidence to the inquiry on 6 February former chief executive Richard Howson said he "felt like a bailiff" after going to Doha more than 60 times over six years to plead for payment from Msheireb.

He complained of a chaotic client who changed architects three times, issued thousands of design changes, and ended up owing Carillion around £200m – one of the main causes of its liquidation on 15 January.

Keith Cochrane also painted a nightmarish scenario for MPs. The former interim chief executive said the Doha job had doubled in size, had two and a half thousand design variations, and that Carillion hadn’t been paid for 18 months prior to the business failing.

In the following days, Msheireb Properties publicly disputed those claims, saying it had continued to pay Carillion but that Carillion withheld that money from subcontractors.

That prompted MPs to write to Msheireb Properties’ acting chief executive Ali Al Kuwari, asking him to back up his company’s counter claim.

Today, Msheireb Properties sent a statement to GCR, saying:

"Following a request from the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Work and Pensions Committees’ joint enquiry into Carillion, Msheireb Properties has formally responded to the misleading and inaccurate statements made by current and former Carillion executives to the House of Commons select committees on 6th February, 2018.

"In a written submission, Msheireb Properties reiterated that several of the allegations made against them were misleading, and provided financial and contractual information to the committee which demonstrates this.

"Msheireb Properties is deeply saddened that Carillion collapsed, affecting so many employees, pensioners, subcontractors and projects in the United Kingdom and around the world. However, the attempt by current and former executives of Carillion to pass the blame to others, including Msheireb Properties, was deeply troubling and inaccurate.

"Msheireb Properties is currently exploring all legal options and, as such, will not be publishing the contents of its submission to the select committees. We are grateful to the committees for considering our response, and we have made clear that we are happy to provide further information if required. We look forward to the publication of the select committees’ report, which we are confident will fully exonerate Msheireb Properties from any responsibility for the collapse of Carillion."

Msheireb Properties added: "At this point no further information on the content of the letter will be provided."

Image: Artist’s render depicting a scene from the completed $5.5bn Msheireb Downtown redevelopment in Doha, Qatar (Msheireb Properties)

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  1. Whilst Mr Howson may have considered he was filling the role of bailiff he was not running the Qatar business on a day to day basis. The Managing Director of the MENA business which included Qatar (and Oman which is also on its knees) must take some responsibility for the demise of the operation. He was not culturally aware and failed to manage the Clients in an appropriate manner.

    His reward for this failure was to be made CEO of Carillion’s Canadian business, and more recently returned to the UK as COO of Carillion PLC. To date he has not been referred to in any discussions on this matter.

  2. Clearly someone is lying and a big lie at that. Scrutiny of the contract accounts will quickly determine the legitimacy of Msheireb Properties or Carillion’s version of events.

    If Msheireb are correct in there assertions, then Carillion have lied to shareholders, its workers and to central government in which highly punitive examples should be made and the appropriate Directors and CEO who were part of this masquerade should face prison sentences and their assets seized as it frankly appalling and unacceptable that any contractor can behave in this way. The impact this has on supply chain who are victims of this withholding of funds forces them in receivership too. I look forward to hearing the true facts.

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