October 29, 2023
MINUTES OF A PUBLIC MEETING BETWEEN HARLECH COMMUNITY COUNCIL AND HARLECH RESIDENTS AT THE OLD LIBRARY, HARLECH AT 7.30 P.M. 03.10.23
Cllrs. Ceri Griffiths, Thomas Mort, Gordon Howie and Huw Jones
Cllr. Edwina Evans (Chairman), Christopher Braithwaite (Vice Chairman), Tegid John, Emma Howie, Rhian Corps, Wendy Williams, Martin Hughes, and Cllr. Annwen Hughes and Gwynfor Owen (Gwynedd Council), and 18 members of the public present to ask questions and to get answers regarding the scam that happened last December.
The Council received the e-mail below from Mr. Robin Emmerson –
I shall not be able to be present at tomorrow's meeting, but I should like an addition to the draft minutes of the previous one, please. The minutes did not note that I pointed out that the Yorkshire address on the invoices is that of a medical company. I should like this added to the minutes as a matter of record, please. I also ask will the Council please publish a full account of the fraud so that everyone, including Council members, can understand exactly how this happened? The account needs to include the actual text of the invoices, which is as follows:
Oluwafemi Odunuga est.2012 Strategic Consultancy Service, Unit 25, Shortwood Court, Dearne Valley Parkway, Barnsley, S. Yorkshire S74 9LH, Tel. 01579 386180. INVOICE. Invoice to: Christopher Braithwaite Invoice number 0019104 [0019105 for the second invoice]. Invoice date: 12/12/2022. Contact Person: Christopher Braithwaite. Payment remarks: 3 days. Description: Strategic consultancy Service. Bank Transfer: Beneficiary: Oluwafemi Odunuga Sc:04-00-85, Ac: 02322676. Quantity:1.
Price per unit: £4500. Amount GBP: £4500. Subtotal: £4,500.00. Total due: £4,500.00.
The Council agreed for the above to be added as part of the previous minutes
Questions from Mr. Reg Chapman
1 Did the Harlech Community Council contact or discuss the scam with the relevant appointed monitoring officer of Gwynedd Council? If so what was the outcome from this?
The Community Council have not been in contact with the Monitoring Officer of Gwynedd Council as the matter has nothing to do with Gwynedd. The Clerk has been in discussions with the Leader of Gwynedd Council with regards to this matter.
2 Similar to this the same question as regards to Harlech Community Council discussions or advice from One Voice Wales, was there contact and if so put the information into the public domain.
The Community Council have not been in contact with One Voice Wales as they would not be able to give them any more advice to what the Community Council knows with regards to this matter.
3 Training courses for Councillors and Clerks are provided by One Voice Wales. With proper training the Scam should never have happened. What arrangements and promotion has been given by the Council to ensure proper training and understanding of managing public money, takes place.
The Councillors and Clerk are prepared to attend training courses and this matter will be discussed further at the full Council meeting later on tonight.
4. The shut the stable door approach to financial management has still not been resolved in its approach to contracts for work to private contractors. Are the Council aware of Financial Regulations as regards to Tenders and Contracts given by this Council? If so what checks are in place to ensure compliance.
The Community Council are aware of the Financial Regulations as regards to Tenders and Contracts and every year go out to Tender with regards to the work of cutting the grass on the public footpaths, cemetery and playing fields. The Council is also aware that if the work to be carried out is below £3,000 and above £100 that 3 estimates must be obtained and if the value of the contract is less than £25,000 that 3 quotations must be obtained.