Ex-Siptu boss ‘can’t attend fund probe’

The former administrator of the so-called Siptu slush fund has said he cannot appear at a public inquiry into its spending until a fraud investigation is completed.

Matt Merrigan, who administered Siptu’s health and local authority levy fund, said gardaí were still probing where the money went.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is investigating the account and its chairman, John McGuinness, said he wants to insist that Mr Merrigan to attend.

However, the retired Siptu official told the PAC while the matter was the subject of a Garda fraud investigation he could not give testimony.

This fraud inquiry began when the HSE reported to gardaí that the €4.4m fund may not have been spent properly.

Last month the Comptroller and Auditor General issued a report into the fund which suggested government agencies pumped unspent budgets into the Siptu-managed account to avoid having their annual allocations cut.

It also found proper accounts were not kept; records were not available to auditors; and money was spent on projects unconnected with its social partnership purposes.

This included holiday flights to Lanzarote for Mr Merrigan which were paid for on the fund’s credit card. He said this was done in error and he paid back the money for each flight.

The clerk of the PAC has been asked to contact the HSE to review its criminal complaint and establish what the status of the fraud inquiry is.

Mr McGuinness said the PAC inquiry should not have to overlap with the work of the gardaí.

Meanwhile the former director of Anglo Irish Bank Lar Bradshaw has agreed to appear during the PAC’s hearings in relation to the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

Ex-Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick has yet to respond to a request that he also attend.


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