Sunday 22 October 2017

Second INM executive made complaint under whistleblowing legislation to ODCE - reports

INM chief executive officer Robert Pitt. Photo: Tom Burke
INM chief executive officer Robert Pitt. Photo: Tom Burke
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

A second senior executive at media group Independent News and Media made a complaint under whistleblowing legislation to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), it is understood.

On Tuesday INM, which owns independent.ie, said it was complying with a requirement from the ODCE to produce records in relation to a possible acquisition by the company of Newstalk.

It was reported at that time that the ODCE intervention had been prompted by a disclosure understood to have been made by INM CEO Robert Pitt under new whistleblowing legislation.

The Irish Times has now reported that a second protected disclosure was also made to the ODCE.

Protected disclosures allow an employee or employees to come forward to the State's corporate governance watchdog with information which they believe includes evidence of wrongdoings found in the course of their work.

"The Company does not intend to comment further regarding the ODCE's request and the independent review," a spokesman for INM said.

It is understood the complaint, made under the Protected Disclosure Act 2014, was made around the time INM issued a statement to the stock exchange confirming that an "issue" had arisen between Robert Pitt and INM chairman Leslie Buckley over the proposed acquisition of Newstalk.

Businessman Denis O'Brien is the largest single shareholder in INM and is the owner of the Communicorp Group, whose assets include Newstalk.

In the statement issued on November 28th, 2016, INM confirmed that an issue arose between its chief executive and chairman in relation to the terms of a possible acquisition by the company.

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