Oxebridge has filed a complaint against the ISO 9001 certification body TUV NORD’s Middle East office for what it describes as a “brazen” scheme to certify the clients of its own consulting wing.
The consulting firm National Inspection & Technical Testing Co. Ltd., known as “FAHSS,” openly markets itself as being owned by TUV NORD Middle East, and shares the same exact executive management. Jamal S. Al-Baeejan and Tarief M. Rasheed both hold senior executive titles with FAHSS, while being Chief Executives of TUV NORD Middle East.
Through the ISO Whistleblower Program, Oxebridge received multiple examples where FAHSS proposed consulting services for ISO and other certifications, requiring the client to then undergo certification by “TUV NORD CERT.” The proposals were signed by Al-Baeejan and Rasheed, listed as “consultants.”
Social media profiles and public records clearly list the men as TUV NORD Middle East’s senior management.
The scheme is so overt because not only did Al-Baeejan and Rasheed openly market themselves as both operating and owning FAHSS and TUV Middle East, Mr. Al-Baeejan personally signed the TUV NORD Middle East “Statement of Impartiality” found on the TUV NORD official website.
That statement was also signed by TUV NORD Germany’s Markus Lechtermann, who is listed on LinkedIn as TUV’s Business Unit Director for Business Development. It would seem impossible that Lechtermann and others within the TUV NORD Germany headquarters would be unaware that senior managers of their Middle East operation in Saudi Arabia were simultaneously marketing consulting services.
So far, the case is unfolding similarly to that of Quality Austria, which was found to be operating a consulting office in Dubai. Oxebridge has filed official complaints and a criminal allegation in Austrian court alleging that the Dubai consulting office bribed Quality Austria and accreditation body officials with “5-star vacations” so that they would ignore the conflicts of interest.
The TUV NORD Middle East website boasts both addresses in Saudi Arabia and UAE.
UAE is an attractive vacation spot for Europeans unaccustomed to its sunny weather and pristine beaches, making it fertile ground for corruption through bribes of gifts and vacations.
The TUV NORD operations would fall under the oversight of the IAF regional body APAC, which to date has largely ignored corruption and conflicts of interest within India and the Middle East. That office is managed by Graeme Drake, who lives in Australia, and is thought to have little interest in policing Middle Eastern concerns, despite that being his job.
CORRECTION 6 April 2021: the article was corrected to clarify that the TUV operations under this complaint are in Saudi Arabia, not Dubai.
UPDATE 7 April 2021: The article removed a statement that TUV is accredited by EIAC. A representative of EIAC claims that the Saudi Operation is different from that of UAE, and therefore not under EIAC accreditation. This isn’t fully supported by the facts, however. The TUV NORD Saudi Arabia “brand” is only advertised on Facebook, and has no website of its own. The Facebook posts instead use the website for FAHSS at www.fahsstuv.com. That site redirects to the TUV NORD Middle East website at www.tuvme.com which lists an address in the United Arab Emirates, not Saudi Arabia. That website then claims accreditation by three bodies: ANAB (US), DAkkS (Germany) and EIAC (UAE).
Further research, however, reveals that EIAC only accredited TUV NORD Middle East for testing, not management system certification. They had previously accredited TUV NORD Middle East for management systems, but it appears TUV NORD Middle East switched to DAkkS. ISO 9001 certificates issued by TUV Nord Middle East do show a more recent usage of the DAkkS logo. The DAkkS website, however, has no listing for TUV NORD Middle East, but this may be covered by the overall German accreditation for TUV NORD as a whole. Oxebridge has written to DAkkS for clarification.
ANAB had no listing at all for TUV NORD Middle East, and the claim appears wholly false.
As it stands now, the accreditation for TUV NORD Middle East’s Saudi Arabia operations is not fully determined.
UPDATE 8 April 2021: Within about 12 hours of publishing the update above, the FAHSS website at www.fahsstuv.com was taken down for “maintenance.,” and no longer redirects to the TUV NORD website at www.tuvme.com.
UPDATE 1 July 2021: It has since been learned the only changes to the FAHHS website were to hide TUV NORD ownership. The matter was escalated to the German accreditation body DAkkS, which rapidly closed the complaint without any investigation. See update here.