Whistleblowing sparks investigation

A police investigation is underway concerning alleged fraud and conspiracy offences carried out by four members of Neyland Town Council and a paid employee.

Earlier this month, the Deputy Mayor, Steve Thomas, announced the investigation at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council, which is located in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

The local government monitoring officer was also informed of the allegations, and this is expected to result in further investigations by Audit Wales and the Ombudsman.

The four councillors under investigation will be temporarily barred from further involvement in external committee and board meetings as representatives of Neyland Town Council.

The internal auditor has also requested access to the Council’s accounts up to the end of the last financial year, as he was “not particularly happy with some of the last financial year’s findings nor with some of the entries which he’s been presented with.”

The investigation centres around allegations of restricted circulation emails and private meetings between a “toxic clique” who excluded other council members.

The details of the alleged misconduct were initially brought forward by Councillor Angela Radice, with Pembrokeshire Police confirming that they had received a complaint on 14 June.

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said that whistleblowers were often an essential part of investigations into fraud and other offences.

He said: “It is vitally important for whistle blowers to be given adequate protection so that they feel confident to be able to highlight wrongdoing without fear of retribution.

“Once allegations have been made, they need to be scrutinised carefully to ensure that they are not vexatious and, if legal proceedings are brought, expert evidence from forensic accountants may be needed to explain to the jury how accounting irregularities may have been perpetrated.”


Sources: Western Telegraph

Posted in The Forensic Blog.