Quals firm four given corruption trial date

Four staff at an Eastbourne-based firm that prints qualification certificates have been given their trial date on corruption charges.

The men, from Smith & Ouzman, appeared at Southwark Crown Court last month where they spoke only to confirm their details.

Christopher Smith, aged 70, the former chairman of Smith & Ouzman, and sales and marketing director Nick Smith, 42, both East Sussex, allegedly paid £413,552.12 in bribes to win overseas business contracts.

International sales manager Tim Forrester, 46, of East Sussex, and company agent Abdirahman Omar, 37, of Stanmore, North West London, were also accused of parts in the alleged plot.

They have been charged by the Serious Fraud Office with offences of corruptly agreeing to make payments.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place between November 2006 and December 2010 and relate to transactions in Mauritania, Ghana, Somaliland and Kenya,

The firm’s website says it is, “trusted worldwide to design, print and distribute certificates for universities, schools and colleges, awarding bodies, governments, financial and commercial institutions”.

The trial date was set for November 10 next year, but the men are due back at court on January 27 for pleas and case management.

[Proceeding]