Gardaí have opened an investigation into claims by a whistleblower of long-term misappropriation of substantial local authority funds at Limerick City and County Council.
It comes as a Council source confirmed yesterday that an internal probe was taking place across several of the Council’s departments into the serious allegations.
When contacted yesterday a Garda spokesman said gardaí were not aware of the allegations, however today they confirmed that gardaí have begun enquires into the matter.
“Gardaí have received a report from Limerick City and County Council in relation to allegations of fraud”, a Garda spokesman said.
They added, “gardaí are at the very early stages of this investigation and no further information is available”.
It is alleged that substantial funds were used to pay for personal presents for at least one individual.
The Council is examining whether others benefitted in kind or if anyone else was aware of the alleged fraud.
The probe involves an internal audit of the Council’s financial accounts.
The whistleblower’s allegations were raised as part of a recent protected disclosure submitted to the Council, through a solicitor.
The allegations are understood to centre around invoice fraud.
They are looking deep, and digging into the allegations.
The Council executive were not aware of the alleged malpractice and the claims have come as a shock to top brass, sources said.
Yesterday, a Council source said the matter was being investigated in line with Human Resource protocols and that it was “a live internal investigation”.
The source said the while the Council was probing the allegations “nothing” had been proven.
“They are looking deep, and digging into the allegations. There are internal audits which you would trust would find something wrong if there was something wrong, but these are allegations and they must be investigated,” the source added.
When asked for a response, a Council spokesperson said: “Limerick City and County Council do not comment on individual HR issues.”