MND has announced today that they have applied to Court for Independent Accountants (IAs) to be appointed to safeguard public funds held by AHPETC. This move comes after Parliament unanimously noted with concern the AGO’s findings.
The money that will be safeguarded will include government grants from MND and service and conservancy charges (S&CC) paid by residents. MND stated that if the Court grants the order, payments above a certain threhold out of the new government grants will be subject to co-signing by the Independent Accountants. MND is also asking the Court to empower the Independent Accountants to inquire into past payments by AHPETC that may not have been correctly or lawfully made. With the Court’s permission, the IAs may also take legal action on behalf of AHPETC to recover losses.
However, the IAs will not take over the operations of AHPETC and will not seek to remedy the problems identified by AGO and AHPETC’s auditors as these will “remain the responsibility of AHPETC’s Town Councillors”.
Lastly, if the Court allows the appointment, MND will disburse the S&CC grants for FY14 and FY15 (subject to conditions) to avoid disruptions to municipal services for residents.