Another €4,000 is missing from garda station, audit finds
A NATIONWIDE audit of money being held in all garda stations has uncovered another case of missing cash – the fourth this year.
The latest incident took place at Athy garda station in Co Kildare, where around €4,000 is reported missing.
The cash is understood to be made up of a number of sums that were being stored in the station as potential evidence after being seized as part of criminal inquiries.
A senior garda officer said last night: "At this stage it is not yet clear whether the money has been stolen or mislaid and searches are being carried out to determine if it could have been moved and lodged elsewhere."
The audit was ordered by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan after details of previous incidents emerged, and focused on how sums of money were being receipted and recorded.
During the audit a fresh financial discrepancy came to light and is now being investigated by officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI).
Officers from the NBCI are also investigating the three earlier incidents.
Last March the Irish Independent disclosed that €9,000 had gone missing from an evidence bag while it was being held in a strongroom at Balbriggan station in north county Dublin.
The money was being stored there as potential evidence in a criminal trial, and was part of a €26,000 haul that had been taken in a robbery at the post office in Lusk the previous January.
The evidence bag with the €26,000 was then placed in a safe.
The discrepancy in the amount of money in the safe was discovered in February when the owner of the Costcutter shop, where the post office is located, called to the station to seek the return of the cash.
Officers found a small tear in the bag and when they checked the contents they discovered there was only €17,000 still held there.
In April, investigating officers arrested a rank and file garda and questioned him about the alleged theft of the missing €9,000.
A file is now being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
During that investigation officers discovered that another sum of €4,000 had disappeared from a locker at Balbriggan station.
In June it emerged that a third haul of cash, amounting to almost €27,500, had disappeared. It is still not clear whether this was stolen or mislaid.
The focus of those inquiries has been on Malahide and Coolock stations.