31st May 2020
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Council staff urged to be ‘vigilant’ after Dundee fraud

SIC staff have been urged to remain “vigilant” to guard against the threat of fraudulent activity.

Head of finance Jonathan Belford made the warning after more than £1 million was stolen from Dundee City Council by an employee.

The issue was raised at today’s meeting of Shetland Islands Council’s audit committee in the town hall.

Chairman Allison Duncan highlighted the case, adding 57 transactions were made before the offence was identified.

Allison Duncan

He questioned if the any weaknesses had been spotted which may lead to the SIC falling victim to a similar offence.

Corporate services director Christine Ferguson said the head of finance – Mr Belford – had carried out checks after the Tayside case came to light, and was satisfied controls within the isles authority were good.

“On first becoming aware this had happened in Dundee, his first priority was to check our own controls.

“He alerted staff across the council to be vigilant, and everybody was made aware that you can’t be too vigilant,” she said.

She added a report would be brought before policy and resources, It will also go to the audit committee on 12th June.

Asked by Mr Duncan if adequate provisions were in place should the council fall foul to an act of fraud, Mrs Ferguson said it was “almost impossible” to predict.

However, she said the council had strong insurance policies in place.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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