Defence official 'took bribes from a friend'

A TOP official at the Ministry of Defence took payments from a friend to help him win contracts to supply military hardware to the British Army, a court was told yesterday.

The prosecution at Southwark Crown Court alleged that Bernard Trevelyan, while the MoD's director of light armoured engineering systems, was paid by David Oliver to help him win contracts worth about pounds 1m to supply machine-gun mounts and tyres for armoured vehicles.

The court was told that Mr Oliver was managing director of a parts supply firm called Imvec. He allegedly paid Mr Trevelyan and his wife, Joyce, pounds 12,500 in backhanders through Surrey Consultants, a company she fronted. It was also claimed that Mr Trevelyan tried to claim a further pounds 28,500 'in commission'.

Mr Trevelyan, of Rowley Regis, West Midlands, faces seven counts of corruption totalling pounds 12,400 and one of attempted corruption covering pounds 28,500. Joyce Trevelyan is accused of aiding and abetting him. Mr Oliver, of Camberley, Surrey, is accused of seven counts of corruption. All three deny all the charges.

Paul Dodgson, for the prosecution, said Mr Trevelyan was paid a pounds 2,000 bribe to write a 40-page detailed report for Imvec on how the Army expected armoured cars to develop.

Mr Dodgson said that Mr Trevelyan claimed his wife was wholly responsible for Surrey Consultants. And while admitting he had written the report for her as a favour, he had never received any payment.

But, Mr Dodgson said, Mrs Trevelyan was too ignorant about the arms business to have run the consultancy.

The trial continues today.