The Garda Ombudsman (Gsoc) is set to bring in outside financial investigators and take on more staff to carry out a probe into suspected fraudulent activity involving a secret Garda account, writes Cormac O'Keeffe.
The moves follow a decision by Gsoc to launch a public interest investigation after it was sent a report by Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan on June 19.
The commissioner told the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee the following morning that she took the action after the Garda internal auditor, Niall Kelly, submitted a report to her saying he suspected that fraud may have been carried out involving a bank account in Cabra, north Dublin.
It related to the movement of monies from an EU police training programme into an account at the Garda Templemore Training College and then out to the mystery Cabra account.
Gsoc said on June 20 that it was “considering” whether or not to set up an inquiry.
It emerged at the time that the ombudsman had never conducted a fraud investigation and that it might have to bring in forensic accountants to assist.
In response to a series of questions, the ombudsman yesterday said: “Gsoc has decided to commence a public interest investigation pursuant to S. 102 (4) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 on the basis of the information as set out in the Draft Audit Report on EU-Funded Training Programmes/Projects dated 19 June 2017.
“At this early stage issues of personnel with the relevant skills are being considered to enable the investigation to progress,” it said.
“This investigation will include personnel from outside Gsoc along with additions to Gsoc staff.”
The Templemore probe is the 28th public interest inquiry being conducted by Gsoc, which are often lengthy investigations.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.