Transport for London (TfL) has denied any ‘improper involvement’ after it emerged that a senior official was involved in authorising payments for the Garden Bridge having accepted a job with an engineering firm linked to the project.
The Architects’ Journal reported that in early 2016 Richard de Cani, who was at the time TfL’s managing director of planning, helped approve payments of £7m to the Garden Bridge Trust, having given notice prior to a move to engineering firm Arup.
What the bridge might look like
According the Architects’ Journal, citing documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, Mr de Cani was permitted to play a key role in the drawing down of this money, despite his forthcoming move to Arup, which is closely involved in the project to build a bridge across the Thames.
The publication said it is not known whether Arup was a direct beneficiary of this money, which was funded equally by TfL and the Department for Transport.
A TfL spokesperson said: ‘Richard de Cani, as managing director of planning at TfL, led our involvement in the Garden Bridge and was required to continue doing so during his notice period. Any suggestion of improper involvement in relation to the Garden Bridge is completely unfounded.
‘The bridge’s construction contract is a matter between the Garden Bridge Trust and Bouygues TP Cimolai. Our funding agreement with the Trust requires us to make grant payments once certain milestones have been reached, one of which was the signing of the construction contract. We have kept the Department for Transport informed of these payments because of their financial contribution to the project.’
In September London mayor Sadiq Khan announced that Dame Margaret Hodge, a former chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, would lead a review into the use of public funds in the £185m project.