BELFAST CITY COUNCIL SUSPENDS TWO STAFF OVER £300K FRAUD LAPSE

Alderman Jim Rodgers says Belfast City Council will recover the £300,000 lost in a scam

Alderman Jim Rodgers says Belfast City Council will recover the £300,000 lost in a scam

TWO workers at Belfast City Council have been suspended after it was hit in a £300,000 money scam.

However, the staff are not suspected of any involvement in the fraud.

They have been suspsended on full pay for allegedly not complying with the council’s correct procedures over payments.

On Monday, an emergency meeting of the council’s audit panel was held in the City Hall to discuss the scam.

The council now hopes to recover the money through its insurance policy scheme.

In a statement afterwards, Belfast City Council said: “Senior officers emphasised that there was no suspicion of any council staff being involved and that the fraud was the result of a failure to apply procedures rather than any weaknesses in established security measures.”

The PSNI’s Financial Investigation Unit was called in after conmen posing as contractors used bogus bank details to pocket ratepayers’ cash.

Alderman Jim Rodgers, chairman of the cross party audit panel, said the council was among a number of organisations hit by the scam.

Said the former UUP Lord Mayor of Belfast: “We called an emergency meeting of the audit panel to seek assurances from senior officers that our security had not been compromised and to see if our already robust security procedures could be further enhanced.”

The council expects to be able to recoup the stolen money from an insurance claim.

Mr Rodgers added: “Our biggest concern was the potential cost to our ratepayers and we have been informed that the council has submitted an insurance claim to recover the amount.

“The panel members were assured that such an incident is unlikely to happen again and this was a failure to comply with security procedures rather than a fundamental failure of our systems.

“We understand the importance of providing information and support to suppliers and other companies with whom we conduct business at this time.

“The council is in the process of contacting all these companies but if any have immediate concerns they should contact the council as soon as possible.”

 

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