date: 22 December 2010
embargo: For immediate release
Following a series of talks between Rick Haythornthwaite, the Chairman of Network Rail, and Gerry Doherty, the General Secretary of the TSSA, which represents senior staff in the company, facilitated by Brendan Barber, the TUC General Secretary, agreement has been reached on the terms of reference for an inquiry into allegations of misuse of public funds and serious financial impropriety within Network Rail.
It has also been agreed that the Inquiry is to be conducted by Antony White QC. The Inquiry will begin its work in January.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'I am pleased that we have now reached agreement on an Inquiry which will be headed by a QC with Mr White's standing and reputation. All witnesses can know they can speak freely and openly to him.'
Network Rail Chairman Rick Haythornthwaite said: 'We have already carried out extensive investigations into the allegations and have found no evidence of wrong-doing. This further Inquiry must first flush out all allegations and evidence if we are to determine whether there is a case to be answered. This is a serious matter that needs to be closed for the sake of the company and the people concerned. I believe that we are taking sensible and effective steps using by using an independent QC to bring this matter to an ultimate conclusion.'
TSSA General Secretary Gerry Doherty said: 'These allegations of impropriety have been a black cloud hanging over Network Rail for the past two years. Now at last they can be examined independently and dealt with accordingly.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
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Issued: 22 December, 2010