Attempted £100k Council fraud prompts auditor warning

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The Local Government Auditor Louise Mason says the Communities Minister Paul Givan should review fraud monitoring structures in wake of a botched attempt to defraud Derry City Council of £100,000 last year.

In an audit of local councils’ accounts, published this morning, Ms Mason referred to the “attempt to defraud Derry City Council of a significant sum of money by amendment of a supplier’s bank details, through false representation.”

Ms Mason noted how the Council subsequently recovered this money and “strengthened the internal controls in place to mitigate against this risk” but she said further lessons can be learned from the incident.

“Since the risk of fraud increases during times of organisational change, the new enlarged councils must continue to ensure that policies, procedures and associated key controls for preventing and detecting fraud are both robust and operating effectively,” she said.

She further recommended that the Department for Communities should “consider the current structures in place to monitor frauds, gather and collate information and bring trends and lessons to the attention of the sector as a whole.”