Railtrack manager 'took bungs to fix lucrative deals'

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A Railtrack manager took nearly £67,000 in bribes to ensure a friend won contracts, a court was told yesterday.

Martin Weaver, 37, allegedly used his influence to do favours for Gary Hughes, 46, and received payment of £1,016.22, then £14,400 and finally £51,400 for his trouble, Southwark Crown Court was told. He bought a Porsche, paid off his mortgage and then put down a large deposit on a flat after receiving the money between 16 October 1997 and 23 January 1998. Most of the payment on the Porsche was made using £50 notes.

He also enjoyed meals and stays in hotels at Hughes's expense, Jon Whitfield, for the prosecution, said.

He told the court: "In a nutshell the Crown says it a case of bribery and corruption. The three sums are for want of a better word 'bungs'. Mr Hughes is a contractor looking for work from Railtrack and Mr Weaver works from Railtrack and part of his job is to oversee jobs in the contractual process."

Mr Weaver, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, denies three counts of corruptly accepting money. Mr Hughes, of Grays, Essex, denies three counts of corruptly making the payments as an "inducement or reward".

Their friendship "spilt over into corruption" from its innocent beginnings in 1994, the jury was told. The pair had conspired in "crookedness" to help line their pockets. Mr Weaver was prepared to bully companies into using Mr Hughes' firm and then they lied to try to cover their tracks by using "bogus documents", Mr Whitfield said.

He claimed that "improper pressure" had been used to force people to use Hughes's company Ontrack Service (OTS). The trial continues.