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MORAY LOSES CONFIDENCE AMIDST FIDDLING ALLEGATIONS

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The Scotsman (p10) reports from Moray Council where procurator-fiscal James McKay has received a police report into...
The Scotsman (p10) reports from Moray Council where procurator-fiscal James McKay has received a police report into alleged financial irregularities. Grampian Police were called in to investigate the council in November last year after members of the Scottish National Party had been accused of 'gross and systematic abuse' of the expenses system. Labour councillors alleged that some SNP members had over-claimed on travel allowances.

The three-member Labour group branded an internal inquiry a whitewash and demanded action. Dennis Scaife, one of the accused SNP members, was suspended by party chiefs. Expenses for the 18-member authority totalled around£70,000 in 1996. Convener Gordon McDonald, whose expenses reached£15,741, stepped down from his post, and said he would fight to clear his name.

The council seems steeped in controversy, especially since SNP group leader Bill Jappy resigned from the party last month after colleagues called on the party hierarchy to expel him after he had held secret talks with other parties in an effort to form a coalition. The Labour group is now considering whether to bring a motion of no confidence against chief executive Anthony Connell, and vice-convener Hilda Cumiskie at the next full council meeting on 12 February.
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