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Kent officer denies fraud charges

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A former Kent CC energy procurement officer has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges involving more than £2m of unauthorised management fees, some of which he is alleged to have used to buy a Jaguar car.

Ross David Knowles of Larking Drive, Allington is alleged to have committed the crimes while holding a senior post at Local Authority South East Region (LASER), the council’s wholly owned energy procurement business, which has more than 100 local authority clients.

Mr Knowles faces two charges of fraud and one of transferring criminal property between August 12 2008 and January 6 this year.

Judge Philip Statman, sitting at Maidstone Crown Court last Friday, set the trial date for March 19 next year. Knowles, 42, was granted unconditional bail.

As LGC exclusively revealed the charge sheet said: “You [Mr Knowles] dishonestly abused that position [head of energy procurement for LASER] intending thereby to make a gain for yourself by negotiating an unauthorised management fee with Centrica of 0.04p per kWh of energy supplied and diverting that commission into your own bank account, in breach of section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006.”

A second fraud charge related to an “unauthorised management fee with npower of 0.05p per kWh of energy supplied” also in breach of section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006.

There is no suggestion of impropriety on the part of the energy companies.

The third count related to alleged illegal transfers made by Mr Knowles. One of the alleged transfers was made “for the purchase of a Jaguar motor vehicle”.

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