US Congress has questions over Compass investigation

09 February 2006
US Congress has questions over Compass investigation

The validity of Compass Group's internal investigation into allegations of corrupt procurement practices at the UN has been slammed by a US congressional committee.

Following publication of the caterer's findings last week, the House of Representatives' International Relations Committee said questions remained about how far corruption had spread within the company.

"We are not ready to confirm the accuracy of the internal report produced by Compass," a committee spokesman said.

The Compass report said it had found "serious irregularities" in the way its ESS division was awarded UN deals, claiming to have uncovered "issues in relation to the behaviour of a few individuals within ESS".

But the spokesman said there were still concerns about a deal involving procurement intermediary group IHC services.

"We would like to learn who else at Compass knew of ESS's actions regarding the sale of IHC Services to a group led by Peter Harris (former ESS chief executive)," the spokesman added.

Compass sacked Harris last November, in addition to business development executive Andy Seiwert and a third, unnamed, mid-ranking executive. Three more left the company following an internal restructure.

Compass would not rule out more evidence coming to light. "The congressional committee can gather material that we couldn't and is able look more closely at the activities of IHC. We have no reason to believe that these issues extend any further," a spokesman said.

Some in the City are also unconvinced that Compass has done enough to restore its reputation. "Mud will potentially stick," said Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein analyst Karl Green.

Compass said it was continuing to help the International Relations Committee with its investigation.

By Tom Bill

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