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FRAUD RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT COUNCILLORS' EXPENSE CLAIMS SYSTEM

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The conviction of a Labour councillor for fraudulently claiming nearly£2,000 in expenses from Grampian RC has rais...
The conviction of a Labour councillor for fraudulently claiming nearly £2,000 in expenses from Grampian RC has raised questions about the way in which councillors' expenses are checked, Scotland on Sunday reports (p8, 12 December).

Stuart Burnett resigned from Grampian RC after his conviction, but colleagues were worried how easy it was for him to falsely claim £1,978 in expenses from August 1992 to March 1993.

The claims arose from trips to COSLA committee meetings outside the local region, and were only queried when auditors noticed that Burnett's attendances appeared to be at record levels.

The case has revealed serious flaws in checking procedures: claim forms do not have to be accompanied by receipts or evidence that trips were actually made. The Scottish Office and the Department of the Environment together launched an inquiry into the internal organisation of local authorities earlier this year.
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