Northern Ireland

Four deny £25m MoD-VIS Security fraud charges

Court statue

Four people have appeared in court in Belfast charged with involvement in a £25m fraud case involving contracts for the Ministry of Defence.

The alleged frauds relate to contracts for electrical and security equipment and supply and installation of CCTV systems services.

The defendants deny all the charges against them.

Two of them - who worked for the MoD - are accused of accepting a bribe as an agent of the Crown.

Appearing at Belfast Crown Court were 54-year-old Ronald William Marks, his sister Carol Kealey, 52, 72-year-old James Daniel McGeown and John Symington, 54.

The alleged frauds relate to Ministry of Defence contracts between January 1998 and February 2004.

At the time Mr McGeown was a director of VIS Security Ltd, Mr Marks was deputy senior contracts manager with the MoD in Northern Ireland and Mr Symington worked as a quantity surveyor with the MoD in Northern Ireland.

Alleged bribes

Mr Marks, from Richmond Avenue in Lisburn, pleaded not guilty to accepting a bribe as an agent of the Crown from Mr McGeown to show "favour in the tendering for and continuation of contracts in respect of VIS Security Solutions Ltd".

Mr Symington, from Laurel Hill Road in Lisburn, denied accepting a bribe whilst being an agent of the Crown "as an inducement or reward for doing acts, in relation to your principal's affairs, namely showing favour in the tendering for and continuation of contracts in respect of VIS Security Solutions Ltd".

Mr McGeown, from Cadogan Park in Belfast, entered not guilty pleas in respect of two counts of giving a bribe to an agent of the Crown and one of converting the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Ms Kealey, from The Crescent in Coleraine, pleaded not guilty to assisting in the converting and transfer of the proceeds of criminal conduct in that she allegedly put money into her bank account and removed other monies for her brother to buy property in Spain "for the purposes of avoiding prosecution".

Mr Justice Hart told lawyers for the defence and prosecution that the likely trial date would be in early September.