Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Further details revealed into “irregular” expenditure at Development Corporation

A GOVERNMENT probe into the winding up of Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation has identified some £200,000 irregular expenditure and an annual report has told how the organisation’s accounting officer was replaced.

The Thurrock Enquirer recently exclusively revealed a probe into the corporation and now, in the annual report of the Department for Communities and Local Government, more detail has come to light.

The report says: “As part of the department’s closure monitoring and the National Audit Office’s audit process, there have been regularity issues uncovered as part of the closure monitoring and we are now working with the relevant parties to rectify the issues identified, or agree appropriate accounting treatment for the sums involved.

“As a result of these issues the Director General for Finance and Corporate Services commissioned an investigation by Internal Audit.

“In total, we recognise around £200,000 as being potentially irregular expenditure. The Accounting Officer for TTGDC was asked to step down and the Department’s Finance Director was appointed as Accounting Officer.

“A Cross Departmental Internal Audit Service report has been prepared and an action plan is in place in response to this.

“In these accounts the Department concedes weaknesses in not monitoring the wind-up of the Development Corporation more closely which led to irregular expenditure.

“However, the principles of what is an appropriate use of public money are well established.”

Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price continues to monitor the Government’s investigation into the finances of the Development Corporation – and some of the legacy organisations it helped create.

She told the Enquirer: “I am beginning to become extremely concerned that too often public servants view the budgets as their money to be spent how they like. They are not. They are budgets voted to deliver a service and if they aren’t needed they should be given back to government.

“We see too many highly paid public servants walking away with handsome payoffs and it is not acceptable.”

While much of the detail about the irregularities found at the corporation remain undisclosed the government appears to be using them to look for further problems, as the report says: “Lessons learned from the closure of Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation have been shared around the department.”

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