Missed email could have pre­vented £3m de­posit

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sounds Good -

landic banks.

It says that had the email been picked up, the de­posit may not have been made. How­ever, the au­di­tors high­light that at a meet­ing be­tween coun­cil of­fi­cials and But­lers just two days ear­lier, the firm made no men­tion about the state of the Ice­landic banks.

An 11-page re­port by au­di­tors Price­Wa­ter­house­Coop­ers broadly clears KCC of ma­jor mis­takes over its de­ci­sion to in­vest mil­lions of pounds of tax­pay­ers’ money in Ice­land. It says that at the time other trans­ac­tions were made, the de­ci­sions were con­sis­tent with But­lers’ ad­vice.

How­ever, the re­port sug­gests that in other cases, the coun­cil failed to keep detailed records of trans­ac­tions and there was no con­sis­tent ev­i­dence they were reg­u­larly re­viewed.

The re­port rec­om­mends that KCC en­sures in­for­ma­tion about banks is sent to more than one of­fi­cial, a step that has now been taken. It also rec­om­mends the coun­cil con­sid­ers whether it has ad­e­quate safe­guards to en­sure it is not tak­ing risks with pub­lic money in seek­ing a high rate of re­turn from in­vest­ments.

Cllr Nick Chard (Con) KCC’s cab­i­net mem­ber for fi­nance, said: “The email went to one in­di­vid­ual when it should have gone to more than one. We are mak­ing sure that it does not hap­pen again.

“Events have shown that we can­not have the same level of faith in rat­ings agen­cies and there­fore we can­not have the same level of faith in But­lers. The world has changed.”

Op­po­si­tion par­ties said the re­port had showed KCC was too ca­sual about its ar­range­ments for in­vest­ments but stopped short of re­peat­ing an ear­lier call for res­ig­na­tions.

Cllr Roger Tru­elove (Lab) said: “KCC has been over-con­fi­dent and has had a warn­ing. There are a se­ries of rec­om­men­da­tions they must take note of.”

Cab­i­net mem­ber for fi­nance Cllr Nick Chard

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