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WALTHAM FOREST: Council fraud claim "a mistake"
MINUTES of a meeting which state for the first time that fraud had taken place in the handling of money intended for poor areas were recorded in error, the council has claimed.
A record of a Audit and Governance Committee meeting stated Town Hall chief auditor Ray Gard said there had been “fraud and waste of monies” with regard to the Better Neighbourhood Initiative.
The council said the reference “appears to be an unfortunate error in the minute-taking” and was not said at the time.
Despite the word “fraud” being found in the notebook used by the committee clerk, the Guardian understands councillors who attended the meeting confirmed the term was not used.
Previous enquiries into the mismanagement of millions of pounds had concluded that although rules to prevent fraud were regularly ignored, there was no evidence that the law had been broken.
The meeting considered a report which found that there was a danger that the scandal could be repeated as insufficient action had been taken.
A council spokesman said: “The Director of Governance & Law has looked into the matter personally and discussed it with the senior officer in question.
“While the Head of Audit, Fraud and Risk stated that there were clear examples of poor practise and mismanagement, he did not say that there had been evidence of fraud. Any such reference appears to be an unfortunate error in the minute-taking."
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