Police investigate 'irregularities' in Mensa expenses

New blow for feuding high-IQ body

Detectives have been asked to investigate alleged expenses irregularities by a long-serving director of Mensa, the organisation for those with high IQs which is beset by acrimonious internal feuding.

Police officers will next week interview the society's chief accountant after the honorary secretary at the centre of accusations, John McNulty, agreed to step down while an investigation is carried out.

A second committee member, Brian Ford, who made the allegations, has also been removed from his post as chairman of Mensa Events, an off-shoot responsible for organising fund-raising concerts and lectures, and suffered a no-confidence vote against him.

The latest twists are a further blow to Mensa, which recently staged a raid on its own Wolverhampton headquarters and sacked its executive director of 19 years, Harold Gale.

Mr Gale was accused by the Mensa committee of using the organisation's facilities to run his own highly-profitable business and is to claim unfair dismissal at an industrial tribunal next month.

The allegations against Mr McNulty relate to thousands pounds of telephone bills, computer equipment and payments for services dating back three years which have been swirling around the organisation for several months, but came to a head at a committee meeting on Sunday.

Before the meeting Mr McNulty, who was absent, circulated a two-page denial of the accusations to Mensa's eight directors, including the chairman, Sir Clive Sinclair.

Yesterday, Sir Clive explained that he had wanted the auditors to examine the alleged financial irregularities, but they had been unwilling to do so as they had discovered no discrepancies in the accounts.

Nigel Tinsley, employed as Mensa's chief finance officer, told the meeting that in the light of the seriousness of the allegations he had no choice but to report them to the police and is to meet a detective to hand over paperwork.

But Sir Clive expressed scepticism that the police would discover anything improper. "I felt that calling the police was like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It wouldn't surprise me if at the end of the day they said 'what's all the fuss about'?" Mr McNulty, who denies any wrongdoing, was relaxed about the allegations yesterday. "Brian Ford is stirring up a storm in a tea cup. I have answered everything that he had raised. But he wanted an investigation, so we said 'fine'."

A director of Mensa for 12 years and honorary secretary for the past two years, Mr McNulty said the accusations were merely the inevitable "backwash" of the rumpus surrounding the dismissal of Mr Gale over the activities of his company, Harold Gale Associates, and its magazine Mind Games.

Mr Ford, declined to comment on the allegations he made save to say that Sir Clive and the rest of the committee had dragged their feet before finally being forced into action.

"I believe the continued delay is going to cause Mensa further embarrassment. I'm deeply grieved that the members are going to suffer because of their failure to act."

Mr Ford added that his removal as chairman of Mensa Events had merely relieved him of the onerous organisational burden, although it had also robbed the society of his fund-raising energies.