Council fraud investigation files ‘go missing’

A number of council files have gone msising. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
A number of council files have gone msising. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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THE whistleblower who raised the alarm about mismanagement and potential fraud at an arms-length council company was never interviewed about his own allegations, the Evening News has learned.

It is also understood that a number of personnel files relating to John Travers, who raised concerns about the alleged misspending of nearly £400,000, have gone missing.

The files are believed to contain details of a disciplinary process launched against him after he alerted council leaders to potential fraud, and their disappearance has raised fears that any attempt to re-examine the case could be hampered.

The treatment of Mr Travers has been linked to alleged “dirty tricks” carried out by council officials at Cameron House Community Centre, at Prestonfield, in a report by a PricewaterhouseCoopers auditor for the local authority.

It has been alleged that complaints about botched building work at the centre were not dealt with.

Staff were allegedly subjected to subterfuge, including faked e-mails and a council surveyor posing as a member of the public to gain covert access to the building.

The treatment of Cameron House was the result of allies of Mr Travers working there, according to claims.

Mr Travers’ allegations – circulated by e-mail in late 2002 – related to Edinburgh Lifelong Learning Partnership (ELLP) and work carried out in Cityconnect, its IT and social inclusion project.

A council investigation into claims of fraud at ELLP concluded there was “no evidence” that funds had been misappropriated. But it has emerged that Alastair Maclean, the city council’s deputy chief executive and monitoring officer, is considering whether a fresh probe might be required.

A council spokesman said: “The council’s monitoring officer is currently considering to what extent further investigations may be appropriate in this case but he has consistently indicated that if further evidence comes to light regarding these historical reports then we will not 
hesitate to take action. Similarly, if it appears that the original complaints were not properly investigated.”

Conservative councillor Cameron Rose said: “Given the troubling catalogue of more recent incidents inflicted on Cameron House, clearly more information is needed before this sorry story can be brought to a close.”