Councillors deliberately ‘misled’ over trams dispute, inquiry hears

St-Andrew-Square_TramFormer City of Edinburgh Council leader Donald Anderson has accused the arms-length company TIE of deliberately misleading the council over important information regarding the city’s tram project.

Mr Anderson, who was council leader when the project was given the go-ahead, told an inquiry that TIE representatives had told councillors and officials that adjudications over disputes with contractor Bilfinger Berger were going in TIE’s favour when that was not the case.

He said key figures, who should have been given access to information about a dispute in 2009, were given interpretations of what was happening when they should have been given access to the actual documents.

Mr Anderson, who was leader until 2006 - one year before construction began, said: “If you lose adjudications and you present them as being successes, that’s deliberate misinformation. If I had been council leader at the time I would have wanted that information on my desk.”

Mr Anderson accused the arms-length tram company TIE of organising a deliberate attempt to prevent councillors having important information about the project.

He told the tram inquiry this lengthened the dispute and added to costs.

Mr Anderson said the establishment of TIE, which was in charge of delivering the trams for Edinburgh council, had been a good idea at first.

However, he said its arms grew so long they were almost infinite, and that there was no strategic direction or control from the council.

The former council leader accused TIE officials of significant failures in clarity and honesty.

Lord Hardie is leading the public inquiry into the trams project, which went over budget and delivered a shortened route.

Hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week, with the process expected to span “several months”.

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