NIFA NEWS

Cleared of financial impropriety

A Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) has been cleared of financial impropriety following a forensic investigation, which found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Such findings give lie to the belief that a forensic investigation sets out to find the person guilty. However, the work of a forensic accountant is to gather the evidence, examine it thoroughly and dispassionately and then come to a conclusion that can, if necessary, be presented in a court of law either for the prosecution or defence.

In this case, the MSP was accused of being paid to use his position to sway councillors to back a certain business expansion. The investigation was carried out and its findings were subsequently handed over to the Scottish Procedures and Public Appointments (SPPA) committee.

A spokesman for the SPPA said that the committee had agreed with the findings and there is no evidence to suggest that the MSP’s actions amounted to paid advocacy, as prohibited by Section 4 of the code of conduct for MSPs and by the Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Act.

In such a case, the investigators would have been looking at the individual’s bank accounts and might also have, spoken to witnesses, including the people who made the allegations and asking them what led them to their conclusions. They might also have investigated telephone records to see whether the MSP and the people by whom he was alleged to have been paid had been in communication.  All of that evidence would have been scrutinised and the findings sent to the authorities.

Roger Isaacs Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon said: “The results of this case highlight the effect of forensic investigations for both the prosecution and defence.

Author: Roger Isaacs 27 November 2018

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