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Sunday 23 July 2017

Gardai probe missing drugs taskforce funds

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

GARDAI are investigating the potential misappropriation of almost €140,000 in state funds by a member of a drugs taskforce.

It is understood that the individual had "sign off" responsibility for the funds received by the taskforce and may have managed to circumvent the normal procedures that require a second person to authorise spending decisions.

It was one of a number of potential fraud cases revealed in the community development programme for the socially excluded at the Dail's Public Accounts committee yesterday.

These include:

  • Misappropriation of €24,000 from a community development project by a ex-staff member, which was later repaid.
  • Misappropriation of funds from a peace programme in Co Armagh, which was discovered following a whistleblower's letter.
  • Misappropriation of funds in a community development project that has become insolvent -- and the Attorney General is examining the potential for bringing a prosecution.

There are 14 local drugs taskforces located mainly in Dublin and 10 regional drugs taskforces, which share a budget of €31m between them.

Fianna Fail TD Michael McGrath said the garda investigation into the missing €137,000 raised questions about the internal controls on spending in the drugs task forces.

Irish Independent

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