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Witness fees ‘row’ hits leading UK accountancy firm

Member: Nifa

The Government of the Channel Island state of Jersey has claimed that a leading accountancy firm billed inappropriately for the cost of attending a hearing that was set up to examine the costs of a state enquiry into child abuse on the island.

Deputy Trevor Pitman said his Education and Home Affairs sub-panel received a bill from BDO Jersey for attending while the committee was reviewing the company’s report on the financial management of the investigation into alleged abuse at the home, Haut La Garenne, in 2006.

Mr Pitman alleged that BDO was, in his words: "attempting to charge fourteen thousand pounds, reduced from twenty six thousand pounds, for attending the two-hour scrutiny hearing and that they had been obstructive from the start." 

But Constable Juliette Gallichan, Chairman of the Privileges and Procedures committee, said the matter was a misunderstanding over who was making a statement about the review and a perceived conflict of interest involving the panel chairman.

She said the company had not pursued the matter of payment since it was originally brought up.

No-one from BDO Jersey was available for comment.

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