Theft investigation at borough HQ

ANTI-fraud officers are investigating allegations of theft and exploitation in Ipswich's corridors of power, it can be revealed today.Whistleblowers have triggered a total of five probes at Ipswich Borough Council's Grafton House HQ since the council's move to new offices in September and specialist investigators are quizzing staff to get to the bottom of the claims.

ANTI-fraud officers are investigating allegations of theft and exploitation in Ipswich's corridors of power, it can be revealed today.

Whistleblowers have triggered a total of five probes at Ipswich Borough Council's Grafton House HQ since the council's move to new offices in September and specialist investigators are quizzing staff to get to the bottom of the claims.

The authority is remaining tight-lipped on details surrounding the alleged offences but The Evening star has learned that:

n> Two cases relate to the “theft of time” by employees.


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n> Two cases involve allegations of theft, one of which also involves an “exploitation” claim.

n> A further case is believed to be linked to one of the other investigations.

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Theft of time occurs when an employee is paid for time which they did not work.

Usually this happens through the falsifying of time records.

Technically theft of time can also include employees who are not working while on the job.

Ipswich Borough Council is refusing to say how much taxpayers' money is said to have been lost on each occasion.

Four of the cases are believed to have originated from tip-offs from staff, while the origin of a fifth is undetermined.

A council spokesman said: “Under the council's adopted whistleblowing guide staff and stakeholders are encouraged to come forward if they have any concern either about how a service is being delivered or as to the probity of the staff involved.

“The council takes its stewardship responsibilities very seriously and all but anonymous cases are investigated.

“In some instances allegations prove unfounded often based upon misinformation, in some cases staff may become involved in the council's internal disciplinary policy and in serious cases referral would be made to the police or appropriate agency.

“The council is unable to comment upon individual cases and in some instances investigation remains ongoing.

“The council is able to confirm that it has not needed to refer any issue to the police or other agency."

n. Are you a council whistleblower or are you concerned about malpractice at Grafton House? Contact the Evening Star newsdesk in confidence on 01473 324788.

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