Council to write off lost £37,583

PUBLISHED: 10:55 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:08 05 July 2010

A district council has come under fire after it emerged high-level investigations had failed to discover where nearly £38,000 of missing taxpayers' cash had gone.

A district council has come under fire after it emerged high-level investigations had failed to discover where nearly £38,000 of missing taxpayers' cash had gone.

Police were called in after Waveney District Council discovered the money was missing, but detectives have also been unable to get to the bottom of the mystery.

The Conservative-run authority has already taken the decision to “write-off” the money, but opposition councillors have spoken of their anger and one is planning to take the matter further.

Malcolm Cherry, leader of the opposition Labour group, said he would try to raise the issue at a forthcoming meeting of the council's overview and scrutiny committee, which he also chairs.

“It is a serious issue that needs to be re-investigated and brought to the attention of the council that this money is still unaccounted for,” said Mr Cherry.

“Where has this money gone? They can't just say they don't know and leave it at that. The money is still missing, but it's got to be somewhere.

“I don't want it to seem as if it's being covered up. It is involving taxpayers' money.”

It was revealed earlier this year how records showed £37,583.31 that should have been paid into the council's bank account in 2003 was never deposited. The cash that disappeared was in two separate batches of £31,850 and £5,733.31.

A Suffolk police statement revealed the money had been handled after it left the council by un-named organisations, which no longer held paperwork dating back to 2003.

The statement said: “Police have carried out an investigation into the matter and have found no evidence of any offences having been committed by anyone at the council.

“The matter had previously been look into by specialist legal representatives on behalf of the authority, who concluded there was no real prospect of recovering the money as, due to standard and legal practice, no records of transactions from 2003 were held by the organisations who dealt with the money after it left the council.

“Due to this lack of paperwork, police are unable to proceed with the investigation.”

Lib Dem group leader Andrew Shepherd said: “There should be a record of where these things end up and they should be traceable. Thirty-eight thousand pounds is not a small amount of money.

“I'm not happy that we've written it off, but we've got no option.”

A Waveney District Council spokesman said: “After considerable investigations, we don't know where the money is.”

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