New facts in the investigation into the irregularities at Qbuzz, shed a different light on earlier statements made by CEO Huges on the contacts he has had during the investigation with directors of Qbuzz. Previously, Mr. Huges made other statements to the investigators. These inaccurate and incomplete statements to the Supervisory Board (SB), was reason to withdraw their confidence in Mr. Huges, which the State has accepted as a shareholder. Subsequently, Mr. Huges has drawn his conclusions and offered his resignation. Mr Huges is given no severance pay. CFO Robbe temporarily resides as CEO of NS.
Late April, NS made public an interim report following an investigation by the law firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek. This showed that at Qbuzz during the bidding for the public transport concession in Limburg, a former employee of Veolia was employed through a sham construction. This employee also has shared confidential business information from Veolia. Disciplinary actions against the directors of Qbuzz who were involved have been taken.
Some of the non-active directors claimed the CEO of NS was aware of the irregularities. They also claimed to have been instructed not to cooperate fully with the investigation. From the information that has subsequently become available is significant doubt whether the statements made by Mr Huges are correct and complete. The Supervisory Board then lost confidence in Mr. Huges and the state as a shareholder has consented to this. Mr Huges has drawn his consequence and offered his resignation. Mr Huges is given no severance pay.
Also resulting from the ongoing investigation Hoogesteger, CEO of Abellio Holding was laid off and removed from office on similar grounds without any compensation. Mr. Robbe also takes temporary charge as CEO of Abellio Holding.
In the letter dated April 28, 2015 to the Minister of Finance on this investigation, the Supervisory Board stated that due to the nature of the case it could not be ruled out that further insights would come to light; considered to be the just and necessary measures were taken when the facts were disclosed by the former research; and will consider the case of new insights for further action discussed. That remains valid even now.
The facts that came to light later in the investigiation do not affect the validity of the measures taken in April. They do justify further, drastic measures today. In addition, they give rise to further research. This investigation will continue until this there is no stone unturned in this affair.
In parallel, the comprehensive action program that was launched in April for the effectiveness of internal procedures, risk management, compliance and internal control within NS group, is still put in force, including the appointment of a director at the group responsible for governance, risk and compliance. This approach will be maintained until there is a strong belief that NS has learned its lessons and the case is in order.
Nederlandse Spoorwegen or Dutch Railways or NS is the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands. NS provides rail services on the Dutch main rail network (hoofdrailnet). The rail infrastructure is maintained by network manager ProRail, which was split off from NS in 2003. Freight services, formerly operated by NS Cargo, merged with the DB Schenker group in 2000.
NS runs 4,800 scheduled domestic trains a day, serving 1.1 million passengers. In addition, NS provides international rail services from the Netherlands to other European destinations and carries out concessions on a number of foreign rail markets through its subsidiary Abellio.