The Electricity Supply Board has asked the High Court for orders requiring two companies to provide it with information about several of its employees who are alleged to have demanded cash payments to complete electrical works near construction sites.
The allegations are now the subject of a Garda investigation, the court heard.
The ESB is seeking orders that would compel Richmond Homes Ltd and Arkmount Construction Ltd to provide certain information. Last May, the two related companies informed the ESB that its employees had sought payments from the companies, which are involved in house construction.
The ESB and its subsidiary, ESB Networks DAC, want the names of the individuals alleged to have made the demands for cash payments, how much was sought and paid by the firms, and what works were carried out in exchange for the cash.
The application has been opposed on grounds including that the companies have already provided the ESB with a large amount of documentation about the claim and that the application to the court is disproportionate and unwarranted.
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On Tuesday, Marcus Dowling SC, with Joe Jeffers SC, for the ESB, said his client was seeking the information so it could take proceedings against the individuals alleged to have made the cash demands.
While the firms have disclosed a large volume of material, particularly in relation to one individual who is claimed to have demanded €10,000, the ESB is seeking information about three others who are also alleged to have solicited payments from the companies for their personal benefit, the court heard.
It sought additional information about the alleged wrongdoers and the payments from the defendants, but it has not received the details sought.
Counsel said the alleged demands appear to have been made in relation to house-building projects for Richmond Homes and Arkmount Construction, which have registered addresses at Embassy House, Ballsbridge, Dublin.
In reply, Tony McGillicuddy SC, with Gary Compton, for the defendant companies, said the ESB’s application was unprecedented and the orders should not be granted.
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The ESB’s application differed hugely from other similar applications, counsel said. Their clients were the ones to inform the ESB about the alleged solicitation of payments, the court was told.
It was also their clients who gave the ESB the names of the four individual ESB employees involved in the alleged solicitation, counsel added.
Their clients had not only fully co-operated with gardaí on this matter but went above and beyond in providing documentation about the allegations to the ESB.
The defendants have also claimed that the requests for information made by the ESB lacked specificity.
The hearing continues.