Corrupt UK royal property manager jailed

  • 29/09/2016
Aerial view of Buckingham Palace (Getty)
Aerial view of Buckingham Palace (Getty)

A former deputy property manager in the British royal household has been jailed over corrupt payments linked to the awarding of building work contracts at Buckingham Palace and other royal homes.

Ronald Harper was sentenced to five years in prison at Southwark Crown Court for conspiracy to make corrupt payments, prosecutors said.

Harper worked with an annual budget of £2.3 million (NZ$4.1m) and was able to authorise orders worth up to 30,000 pounds, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

But he personally received more than £100,000 (NZ$179,000) in covert payments from companies awarded lucrative contracts for mechanical and electrical work in Buckingham Palace, the Queen's Gallery, St James's Palace and Kensington Palace.

Buckingham Palace is Queen Elizabeth's London residence while Kensington Palace is home to her grandson Prince William and his wife Kate, and his younger brother Prince Harry.

The judge said Harper's offences were aggravated by his displaying of an award for excellence, given by the Royal Household, in his office.

Harper was found guilty of conspiring to receive corrupt payments from the former owners of a company called Melton Power Services (MPS), which had been granted a royal warrant on Harper's recommendation, and from another firm, BSI Nordale.

Both firms inflated the price of contracts and used the additional amounts to create a fund to pay bribes.

Five others who were also convicted or pleaded guilty to involvement in the conspiracy, received jail terms, suspended prison sentences or orders to carry out unpaid work.