Howden Town Council probed over alleged theft of funds

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Howden Town CouncilImage source, Google Maps
Image caption,
Humberside Police said the investigation at Howden Town Council started in March

A suspected theft of funds from a town council in East Yorkshire is being investigated.

The probe into Howden Town Council started in March but no arrests have been made, Humberside Police said.

Council chairman Hugh Roberts said he was aware of allegations but would not comment while inquiries were ongoing.

Separately, an internal audit report found there were "serious concerns" over the council's financial controls for the 2018/19 financial year.

The report stated a "high number" of documents relating to payments made from council accounts were not available, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

It alleged cash machine withdrawals had been made of a "personal nature".

The auditor's report stated: "The findings and recommendations of this report will present a significant challenge to the council to bring its financial control and governance arrangements up to the required standard.

"The accounts and governance arrangements of the council were maintained to a far less than adequate standard during 2018/19 and the internal financial control environment was well below acceptable standards."

It was also criticised for failing to arrange an internal audit and meet legal requirements to submit an Annual Governance & Accountability Return (AGAR).

However, the report said the council had taken "immediate and decisive" action once the issues were brought to light and there had been a "sense of urgency within the council to bring it up to the required standard in the current financial year".

Mr Roberts said all issues raised in the report had since been resolved and that AGARs for 2018/19 and 2019/20 had been completed.

He added: "The external audit cannot move either of them forward until the police complete their investigation."

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