NIFA NEWS

Forensic investigation concluded

UK Power Networks has launched a forensic investigation into its own Chief Executive, Basil Scarsella, after a whistleblower raised concerns over contracts awarded to his son’s business. The investigation related to a £75 million IT contract that was awarded by the energy company to a firm called Enzen, where Mr Scarsella’s son is Business Operations Director.

According to the whistleblower, the contract was awarded unfairly because of a conflict of interest. The individual added that there were also serious problems with the procurement process at the energy firm and queried Enzen’s financial stability.

UK Power Networks, which is the UK’s largest electricity distribution network operator, therefore asked a firm of accountants to carry out a forensic investigation into the allegations. The investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing.

In a statement issued once the investigation was concluded, the energy operator said that independent assessors investigated the allegation and found no evidence of wrongdoing by UK Power Networks or any of its employees. It went on to stress that Mr Scarsella had declared a conflict of interest to the board and “removed himself from the process at an early stage”.

Many people believe that a forensic investigation is only launched if someone is believed to be operating on the wrong side of the law but, as this case highlights, many businesses use such an investigation to demonstrate innocence and transparency.

The key feature of any good forensic investigation is that it should be carried out on the basis of experience, independence and impartiality, focussed on facts, not rumours so that evidence can be assessed carefully and objectively .

Roger Isaacs, Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “People like to believe that there’s no smoke without a fire, but in this instance energy Enzen’s CEO was vindicated of alleged wrongdoing. A forensic investigation can just as effective to disprove allegations as to support them.”

Author: Roger Isaacs 31 May 2018

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