Cllr Peter Simmons will have to return the monies for the anomalies discovered in his expenses claims. On Monday 16 Nov 2015 an extraordinary meeting of the Audit and Standards Committee confirmed this much from behind closed doors.
A Report AuS/15/17 apprising Members of the outcome of an Internal Audit investigation into allegations of fraud relating to Councillors’ expenses. The allegations were made in relation to a challenge to the 2014/15 Accounts.
Partial Minutes which have been made available state:
Joanna Miller, Chief Finance Officer of SDC summarised the findings of report AuS/15/17 and explained the various recommendations contained within that report for the committee’s consideration.
Committee members sought clarification regarding some of the figures contained within the appendices of the report and these were provided by the Chief Finance Officer.
“It was resolved that the committee (as per recommendation 4 in report AuS/15/17), accepts the conclusions of the Investigation report (Appendix A), instructs officers to recover the monies and refers the matter to the monitoring officer as a possible breach of the code of conduct. In the latter case the matter would be dealt with under the council’s arrangements for dealing with complaints concerning breaches of the code. The complaint under the code will only be considered in respect of the serving councillor.”
How much money will be recovered is not known, nor will the report be made public. So Cllr Simmons, as sitting councillor and an accountant diddles his expenses and the public have no right to know how much he diddled the public purse for.
We do not know if SDC will report him to the Police or anything else.
Is that democratic? Is it transparent?
Will Former Cllr Tillson be reported to the Police by SDC for the anomalies in his accounts?
After 4 months of chasing this story Shepwayvox knows only a little more.
The Kentish Express ran the story in its Marsh Edition only.
The Folkestone Herald have run the story and should be applauded.
We leave you the reader to decide what SDC have done regarding a Cllr diddling his expenses. We ask you to bear in mind if this was a resident diddling their Housing benefit or Council Tax they would end up in court and charged. Oh the joys of being a councillor.
If like us this state of affairs does not satisfy you then please email one or all of the following to let them know your displeasure.
firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Executive SDC
email@example.com Leader of the Council [Tory]
firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Constable Kent Police
email@example.com Police Crime Commissioner