“No evidence of corruption” says independent auditor

An external investigation into anonymous allegations of corruption at Merton Council has found no evidence of corruption, malpractice or unlawful expenditure.

The investigation by Ernst and Young, the well-respected audit and accountancy firm, interviewed council staff and looked in detail at financial records. They found no evidence of corruption and are not proposing that any further investigation is undertaken. They also confirmed that temporary staff are being paid at the market rate for their jobs.  They did identify some issues relating to council processes used for the procurement of temporary staff and the council will ensure these issues are addressed.

The final report will be discussed at the council’s General Purposes committee on 12 March. 

Cllr Mark Allison, Cabinet member for Finance, said: “I’m relieved that, with the independent investigation finding no evidence of corruption, malpractice or unlawful expenditure, a cloud has been lifted and we can now get on with improving the lives of our residents. I’m sure the final report will suggest areas where our procedures can be tightened up even further, but it was always hard to believe a council like Merton, which has improved so much, is so careful with money and was voted best council in the country, was corrupt.”