Top Edinburgh council bosses to be grilled under oath as part of high-profile whistleblower case

They will be quizzed on whether all documents relating to a hushed-up report have been handed over to lawyers

Thursday, 28th November 2019, 7:02 am
Updated Thursday, 28th November 2019, 7:05 am
John Travers served a writ on City Chambers in December

TOP council bosses will be hauled in front of a hearing today and grilled under oath as part of a high-profile whistleblower case.

The authority’s £167,000-a-year chief executive Andrew Kerr, head of legal Nick Smith and Mr Kerr’s former deputy Alastair Maclean are all expected to appear.

They will be quizzed on whether all documents relating to a hushed-up report have been handed over to lawyers.

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John Travers served a writ on City Chambers in December to publish accountancy giant PWC’s report into his claims £400,000 of public funds had been misspent at an arm’s-length firm.

Mr Travers’ solicitor Stephen Miller, of Clyde & Co, said: “Our client is attempting to obtain the full report which was, at great expense to council taxpayers, commissioned from PWC.

“He was promised that report, but has never been given a full copy of it.

“It plainly contains information which is embarrassing

to the council and the public and our client has a right to see it.

“The holding of this commission is part of the process which we hope will expedite resolution of the case.”

The trio have been cited to appear at the hearing understood to be held at the New Town offices of Clyde & Co this afternoon in front of a commissioner, or advocate.

They will face questions in person from an advocate acting for Mr Travers – Andrew Smith QC – one of the country’s top lawyers.

Mr Travers and others close to him were the victims of a ten-year campaign of intimidation after he made the claims in 2002. This included tampering with personnel records,

hate mail, a barrage of “weaponised” pornography being sent to Mr Travers and his associates and anonymous online abuse.

The city council drafted in a team of specialist investigators from PWC to examine the claims in 2016.

Their report vindicated the actions taken by Mr Travers and is understood to have found both he and his associates were harassed – but was unable to establish those responsible.

It also tracked hardcore pornographic images back to the council via an IP address but no individual has ever been identified as responsible.

Mr Kerr took home basic pay of £167,468 last year – bolstered to £203,139 with pension contributions.

Mr Maclean’s LinkedIn page lists him as chief executive officer at Baillie Gifford Investment Management (Europe) having left the council at the end of 2015.

Mr Travers’ allegations related to Edinburgh Lifelong Learning Partnership (ELLP) and work carried out on City Connect, its IT and social inclusion project.

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesman said: “The council does not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.”