Fringe Box



Police Now Leading GBC’s Suspected Fraud Investigation

Published on: 14 Dec, 2023
Updated on: 17 Dec, 2023

By Martin Giles

Surrey Police are now leading the investigation into suspected fraud connected with a council house maintenance contract, according to a statement from Guildford Borough Council.

The suspected fraud investigation was launched after a £16 million overspend was discovered but the suspected fraud is thought likely to involve only part of that sum.

Following a report of confused communications over the police role, The Dragon asked GBC which agency was leading the investigation.

A GBC spokesperson responded: “The police are leading on an investigation into an allegation of fraud in our housing maintenance. The situation within our housing maintenance is a very complex one and we are working closely with them and Reigate and Banstead accredited anti-fraud investigation unit.

“The investigation is in the early stages and may take some time.  As the investigation is ongoing, we’re unable to provide any further specific details at this time.”

Surrey Police has confirmed that they are “leading an investigation”.

But last week the investigator from Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, brought in by GBC, told one of the dismissed officers who was requesting the name of a police officer so he could offer making a statement: “Surrey Police are not currently involved in this investigation.”

Undeterred, the dismissed officer contacted Surrey Police and was told, just three days later, by a detective sergeant that the police were liaising with GBC to “discuss their concerns” but were not “at this point actively investigating”.

See: Confused Messages Over Police Role in GBC’s Fraud Investigation

Reacting to the statement, one of the interim officers, whose contract was terminated without notice on September 12, said: “It would seem that senior officers at Guildford Borough Council have been embarrassed by the revelations in The Guildford Dragon NEWS, which show that the investigators at Reigate & Banstead Council and the Police have said they are not in a position to move forward with an investigation.

“For Guildford Borough Council to state it is still at ‘early stages’ three months after suspending and dismissing staff, who were achieving the best results and highest satisfaction in years within the Housing Department, is astonishing.

“Those of us who have been suspended or had our contracts terminated have offered to give evidence of fraud taking place but all our offers to be questioned have been ignored.

“GBC is hiding safety issues within council houses and delays are causing further harm, financially and health-wise, to those of us who have been dismissed and suspended.

“The council has been overspending on contracts for over three years and in certain cases paying contractors whose contracts had expired, so if that was not authorised at the highest level then very poor practices were in place and those at the top responsible.

“GBC tenants, Guildford residents and all their elected councillors – not just the Liberal Democrats – deserve transparency and the truth.”

See also: Dragon Interview – Cllr Bob Hughes on the GBC’s HRA Investigation

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *