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Jailed auditor's failings caused 'disrepute'

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Wales’ disgraced former auditor-general brought his office into disrepute and acted inappropriately as a manager.

Those are among conclusions of a review by the Wales Audit Office of the conduct of Jeremy Colman, right, who was jailed for eight months in November for making and possessing indecent images of children. He resigned suddenly in February 2010 when offensive images were found on his computer.

Mr Colman was responsible for auditing the Welsh public sector, including its 22 councils.

The review concluded there were no further grounds for action against him, and found that his input to audit work “was proper and beneficial”.

But it said: “Mr Colman brought his office into disrepute by failing in his responsibility as accounting officer for the Wales Audit Office.”

It said he “appears to have focused on his independence as the regulator of public sector audit in Wales and to have had an insufficient appreciation of his accountability in his role as accounting officer of the Wales Audit Office together with an insufficient regard to the framework of internal and external governance arrangements applicable to his office”.

The report, presented to the National Assembly for Wales, also probed the controversial £745,000 pay off, awarded over 10 years by Mr Colman to chief operating officer Anthony Snow when his post was deleted.

“Mr Colman deliberately instigated actions designed to minimise the visibility of [Mr Snow’s] package,” the report concluded.

“In doing so he misled partners, staff, and the Audit and Risk Management Committee. He disregarded adopted governance arrangements, and failed in his accounting officer responsibilities.”

The report also recommended closer oversight of the auditor-general, a statutorily independent post.

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