Pounds 10m corruption inquiry finds little evidence
Monday 25 January 1993
The internal inquiry under three officers of the council, first revealed in the Independent a fortnight ago, and shown to members last week, produced evidence of probably the most widespread corruption uncovered in a local authority, but named no culprits. But a week ago the ruling Labour group, alarmed that so much evidence seemed to have been 'cleaned out', passed a resolution calling for officials to be instructed to seize documents to protect them from being destroyed.
They hope that a public inquiry into the corruption stretching back a decade, to be conducted under a barrister, may be in a position to pass harder information to Scotland Yard.
Yesterday John McCay, chair of the Labour group, said the inquiries about work carried out by the council's direct labour organisation had begun with complaints that jobs had not been carried out, yet invoices had been paid.
The leader of the Labour group, Stephen Whaley, said: 'If you have specific evidence of criminal activity the police will investigate.' The problem was that they lacked evidence on how any alleged frauds worked.
A police spokesman confirmed that the fraud squad had not been asked to investigate any complaints.
Councillors at an all-night meeting in the town hall, which ended at 5am on Saturday, agreed to set up an independent public inquiry to investigate abuse of procedures and malpractice catalogued in a report issued by the chief executive, Herman Ouseley, after a six-month investigation by three of his officers. It details abuse of procedures involving civil engineering, and housing repairs and maintenance, and says large amounts were spent on highways without the council committee's approval, making the work unlawful.
There were breaches of planning regulations, and 214 staff were made redundant, or retired early, at a cost of pounds 1.8m, 'without any authority at all'.
The report says that retrospective approval could not be given for much of the unlawful expenditure, and 'major issues of negligence and/or wilful misconduct for individual officers arise'.
The council leader, Steve Whaley, survived a no confidence vote by just one vote. The councillors had heard officials admitting that work contracted to the Direct Labour Force was not done; double invoicing was used and prices for jobs were vastly exceeded.
The Conservative group leader, Hugh Jones, said that he believed the amount of money involved in the malpractice and corruption could be even higher than the pounds 10m already identified.
Mr Ouseley conceded that the failure to curb corruption over a 10-year period had extended to the top of the council.
The borough has the highest poll tax in the country at pounds 425 a head. Mr Whaley said the hope was for the report to be published within six months.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how the internet reacted
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Jennifer Lawrence leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by forum users
Britain First picture: Photographer 'horrified' after first Afghan policewoman killed by Taliban used for 'ban the burka' campaign
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...