AN MSP has called on the council to reopen its investigation into a whistleblower’s fraud allegations amid concerns over the original probe.
The Evening News revealed yesterday that council employee John Travers was never interviewed about his claims back in 2002 about mis-spending of nearly £400,000 by an arms-length council company.
It is beyond belief that the council can receive allegations of fraud from a council employee and for these not to be fully investigated.”Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie
And files believed to contain details of a disciplinary process launched against Mr Travers have gone missing, raising fears that any attempt to re-examine the claims could be hampered.
The case has also been linked to alleged “dirty tricks” following botched building work at Cameron House Community Centre, in Prestonfield.
Today, Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie said he planned to raise the council’s handling of Mr Travers’s allegations with new city council boss Andrew Kerr.
Mr Travers’s allegations related to Edinburgh Lifelong Learning Partnership and work carried out in Cityconnect, its IT and social inclusion project.
A council investigation concluded there was “no evidence” that funds had been misappropriated. In 2004, a disciplinary hearing was begun against Mr Travers, which involved an attempt to sack him.
But an employment tribunal which took place the following year ordered the council to pay Mr Travers £5000.
A report by PwC, auditor for the local authority, linked Mr Travers’s treatment to alleged “dirty tricks” at Cameron House, where some of his allies worked. It has been alleged that complaints about botched building work at the centre were not dealt with, that emails were doctored and a council employee even posed as a member of the public to make an undercover visit to the centre.
Staff who have connections with Mr Travers were also bombarded with pornography as part of an alleged campaign of intimidation and harassment, designed to keep them silent.
Following the Evening News revelations, Mr Eadie said: “The public will be flabbergasted to learn that vital files pertinent to this case have gone missing and that the whistleblower in question was not interviewed about his allegations regarding the misuse of public money. It is beyond belief that the council can receive allegations of fraud from a council employee and for these not to be fully investigated. The public must have full confidence that this matter has been properly investigated. The council must now consider reopening this investigation into claims of fraud and take all necessary steps to restore public confidence.”
A council spokesman said: “The council’s monitoring officer is currently considering to what extent further investigations may be appropriate into this case. He has consistently indicated that if further evidence comes to light – or if it appears the original complaints were not properly investigated – he will not hesitate to take action.”