PRESSURE MOUNTS ON KEZIA DUGDALE TO INTERVENE
Labour-run North Lanarkshire Council must publish their report into “bizarre and worrying” activity by leader Jim Logue, the SNP has said.
Auditors probed the creation of two subsidiary companies of the council’s arm’s length firm North Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd – neither of which appeared in Logue’s register of interests despite the councillor serving as a director for four years.
Internal auditors described the circumstances surrounding the establishment of the companies as “opaque”, with the creation of the firms neither “approved, or reported to, the NLL Board.”
The council are refusing to publish the full report, instead releasing a four paragraph summary, and so far Jim Logue has refused to step down as council leader while inquiries are ongoing into his activities.
The summary prepared by internal auditors continues: “We also noted that there were no reports to the NLL Board about the companies, nor did the then NLL Chief Executive or Chairman declare their interests in these companies to the NLL Board.
“We have also commented that there were a number of significant weaknesses in the governance arrangements within NLL which, in our view, mean that the Board was unable to provide effective scrutiny and challenge, or to hold the then Chief Executive to account.
“We also raised a number of issues about overseas travel.”
Coatbridge and Chryston MSP Fulton MacGregor has written to Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale calling for her to intervene. Commenting, Fulton MacGregor said:
“This whole affair absolutely stinks.
“The circumstances surrounding these apparently secret arms-length companies are both bizarre and potentially very worrying.
“The public deserve to know exactly what role council leader Jim Logue played and why he’s so desperate to keep this hush-hush. And meantime he should step aside as council leader and allow ongoing inquiries to run their course.
“This secrecy is completely unsustainable – Labour must publish this report and they should do it now. If the council group won’t take those steps themselves then it’s incumbent upon Kezia Dugdale to wade in and direct them accordingly.
“For this to rumble on any longer risks complete and utter embarrassment for North Lanarkshire council, with serious repercussions in terms of confidence in local democracy. And Labour’s head-in-the-sand approach can’t continue without serious questions being asked of Kezia Dugdale’s leadership.”