Monday, 23 May 2016

Pembrey Country Park: 'Senior officers covered up scandal' - The Carmarthenshire Herald

Later post 4th July; Pembrey Park scandal, an update

Update 13th June; The Herald article is now online;
Senior officers covered up scandal in Pembrey

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This week's Carmarthenshire Herald has more on the unfolding scandals surrounding the management of council run Pembrey Country Park. Although rumours of dishonesty, and financial and procedural irregularities have been rumbling for a couple of years, a recent internal council audit turned up some very serious allegations, for background see my earlier post here.

Attempts to raise the report at full council in April were slapped down by council leader Dole and despite demands from opposition councillors for police involvement, or at least an independent investigation, matters are currently being dealt with in-house....

Carmarthenshire Herald May 20th 2016

The Herald article includes transcripts of recorded conversations between various (anonymised) council officers and third parties which suggests that tenders have been discussed and awarded outside the proper process and that the restructuring of facilities was deliberately designed to remove, or "get rid" of employees who intended to blow the whistle.

In another recording council officers attempt to find out what information is held by a third party, pleading with that third party not to go to the police..."For f**k sake, don't go to the police".
It is understood that information has now been passed to the police.

With the park catering contract tender currently on hold after the process was challenged by an unsuccessful bidder, its all adding fuel to the fire.

I have also heard various serious allegations from anonymous sources over the past year or two, all of which backs up the information in the Herald, and brings into serious doubt the recent claims made by senior officers to councillors that there was 'no evidence of fraud'.

Something stinks and presumably none of this has gone unnoticed by the Wales Audit Office who, with no love lost between themselves and the council, should be keeping a very close eye on developments.
The question here is who knew what, and when, and exactly how far up the corporate food chain did that knowledge extend. As we have seen, 'irregularities' are a recurring theme throughout County Hall but unfortunately, accountability is far less prevalent.

The Herald article is not yet online, I will add a link when it appears, meanwhile it's well worth 50p. Also, the letters page includes a supportive and considered contribution from Mr Tim Hart titled 'The Caebrwyn Blogger' and relates to ongoing matters detailed here.


Ken Haylock said...

Oh... colour me unsurprised. Off to buy the Herald.

Wavell said...

Meanwhile the Guardian are more concerned with fag ends being dropped.
It is now about time that our other local newspapers started providing news.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see that things are starting to come to light.
I have a feeling that there will shortly be a stampede.

Anonymous said...

When oh when are we going to get a Public Inquiry into this rotten council and some rotten officers. Has anyone got any balls??????

Ken Haylock said...

So... if you are aware of a potential crime and you put pressure on a witness to that potential crime not to report it to the police, is that a crime in itself? The news that somebody implicated in the Herald story may be about to leave the council with a big payoff is as outrageous as it is unsurprising. Presumably if they go quietly with a big payoff, rather than noisily for gross misconduct via a conviction for misconduct in public office and or conspiracy to defraud, they don't get the chance to barter for a reduced sentence for themselves by revealing where a lot of the bodies are buried elsewhere in Carmarthenshire...

Unknown said...

Well said Ken there is a phrase about evil surviving if the good stand back and do nothing .

Anonymous said...

and evil still survives in many cases, even if the good DO something about it

Wavell said...

A huge majority of the GOOD know nothing about the CCC escapades.
Why ?

Because our local newspapers (for some reason) seem to avoid publishing them.

We should take MJ's medal and give it to the Herald.

Wake up Guardian & Journal, your COUNTY NEEDS YOU.

Anonymous said...

If the so called 'good' do nothing, then they cease being 'good'. If you don't condemn wrong, then you condone it. Sitting on the fence is no defence for turning a blind eye as you then become part of the problem. There are far too many on this council who are a huge part of the problem because they stupidly believe that as they have not participated directly in dodgy practice they are absolved from any responsibility. How wrong they are!!!

Cneifiwr said...

An interesting letter in this week's Herald from someone who worked in CCC's "Parks and Recreation" alleging corrupt manipulation of the tendering process, bullying and misuse of public funds. The letter makes it clear that knowledge of the allegations went all the way up the tree.

Anonymous said...

Some of the local press supposedly serving Carmarthenshire will virtually NEVER print any stories that are at all critical of Carmarthenshire County Council, its administration or, particularly any senior office. Why? Because the Chief Executive threatens them with the withdrawal of all Council advertising/notices unless they complied with his wishes. And their owners simply "fold in" under that pressure - money is more important than the truth to them.
The Carmarthen Journal hasn't had a decent editor since Robert Lloyd, who was forced out by pressure from MJ because he chose to print critical reports.

Lesley said...

You are absolutely correct in everything you say, Anon@11.22. This bullying of the Carmarthen Journal has been going on for many years with the obvious result that only approved press reports from the council are ever printed. The Journal has long since stopped being worth buying unless you like reading council propaganda.

Anonymous said...

The family that have the catering contract, applied again for the lease and were shot down in flames for no reason, I think they are challenging the decision as something smells fishy with the park management and its not fish.