Council leader and arms-length charity at centre of corruption probe

Logue

​Council leader defiantly refusing to step aside while investigation takes place 

9th August 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Calls are mounting for the head of North Lanarkshire Council to step aside to allow an investigation into his dealings with one of its charity subsidiaries to be probed.

Council leader Jim Logue, who runs the minority Labour administration, was last week reported to police over allegations of corruption.

The investigation concerns Logue’s involvement in two private companies, ESCA UK Ltd and No Limits Leisure Ltd both of which were created by the council leader as subsidiaries of North Lanarkshire Leisure – a registered charity operating as an arms-length external organisation (aleo) of the council.

Logue claimed No Limits Leisure was set up to boost income by providing services to other councils, while ESCA existed to pursue grants when North Lanarkshire was European City of Sport.  

Internal auditors compiled a report having spent months probing the creation of the two companies.

They found neither of the directorships was placed in Logue's register of interests.

However, a four-paragraph summary (pictured above) has so far been the only public release of information about the report's contents and the council has now rejected an SNP demand for its release.

The summary released last month confirmed "the creation of neither [firm] was approved by, or reported to, the NLL board" and NLL received "no reports" about the companies.

Head of audit Ken Adamson added: "We also raised a number of issues about overseas travel."

In an email to SNP councillor Allan Stubbs, the council's chief executive Paul Jukes said the report would not be published.

I understand that the police, having received a complaint – no matter how spurious – require to look into it - Jim Logue

Jukes warned Stubbs the council's legal team believes any freedom of information request for the document is likely to face five separate exemptions.

Councillor Logue denied any accusations of wrongdoing and refused calls to step aside while the probe was being conducted.

He said: “I understand that the police, having received a complaint – no matter how spurious – require to look into it.

“Police Scotland have not been in contact with me but I welcome the opportunity to discuss the matter with them at their convenience.

“My focus remains on delivering quality services to the people of North Lanarkshire at the helm of a forward-thinking council.”

A Police Scotland spokesman added: “We can confirm that Police Scotland have received a complaint of alleged corruption of an individual at North Lanarkshire Council and enquiries are ongoing to establish any criminality.”

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