The taxpayers of Barnet have been exposed to a £292 Million risk due to Barnet Council not following it's own agreed policy. The Council leader Mike Freer made this 100% clear in his statement this week. He stated "Despite previous assurances from Barnet Council Officers that correct treasury management controls were applied to Icelandic deposits, it has now come to light that in fact this was not the case. On Monday 9th March I was presented with a scrutiny working group report which makes clear that officers did not in fact follow the correct procedures despite having repeatedly told me both verbally and in writing that they had done so."
Mike Freer went on to say "An external investigation will be carried out to identify why our external auditors did not pick up these issues in their previous audit work. I would like however to reassure residents that at this point the Icelandic deposits remain frozen by the administrators of the two banks involved and discussions around the return of this money remain positive and ongoing".
Hang on a second. He's just clearly stated that public funds (ie our money) has been misused. Not only that, but a systematic cover up has taken place over a period of nearly six months. He says that this cover up is documented in writing.
It could not possibly be more clear. Surely there has been a conspiracy to cover up malpractice within Barnet Council? If this is the case, Mike Freer should not have called external auditors, he should have called the Police. Mike Freer states that "officers" (plural) were involved. This surely means that there has been collusion in the process. I am prepared to take at face value Mike Freer's statement that he was unaware of this, until alerted by the scrutiny committee.
I call on Mike Freer to ask the Police to investigate this. If he won't then maybe someone could inform me of the procedure of how I could. If I have got this wrong and Mike hasn't said there has bee financial malpractise or a cover up by officials please let me know ASAP because from where I am sitting it looks highly suspicious to me. The amounts are huge and this looks as if it will hurt every taxpayer in Barnet. As such, surely the Police should be involved