Review police investigation says Caldicot and Wentlooge drainage board whistleblower
3:02pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
NEW PROBE: Jimmy Harris of Caerwent is one of the whistleblowers of the Caldicot and Wentlooge Drainage board
A WHISTLEBLOWER on a troubled Gwent public body criticised again in a damning report last week said no one has ever been held to account for what happened.
Former Tory councillor Jimmy Harris, from Caerwent, has called on the Gwent police and crime commissioner Ian Johnston to review what happened at the Caldicot and Wentlooge Levels Internal Drainage Board.
Police said that it had previously concluded no criminal offences had gone on at the board – but would investigate if new information came to light.
Last week a National Assembly committee last week said that lives might have been at risk because of the lack of accountability and oversight at the body, which has an annual income of around £1 million.
The AMs work came after the Wales Audit Office found the board overpaid former clerk and chief engineer Dean Jackson-Johns, paid thousands for trips abroad for its members and occasionally acted unlawfully.
Both reports looked at the work of the board when it was run by Mr Jackson-Johns – a different senior manager is now in place and the Assembly committee had acknowledged the board had taken action to address issues highlighted by the WAO.
Mr Harris, a former meber of the board who had raised concerns about it's activities with both the body and AM John Griffiths, said: "I think that the initial police investigation just scratched the surface. The police commissioner should review the issue."
The former councillor, said: “Nobody has been held to account at all.”
He said that despite the money spent on the WAO report "there's no blame been laid at one particular person".
However he welcomed the possibility, raised by natural resources minister Alun Davies, that the body will be absorbed by Natural Resources Wales.
“I think that’s the best way forward,” he said. “Hopefully you will get a better service.”
Concluding its own inquiry into the drainage board, the Assembly public accounts committee last week said that a lack of accountability and oversight at the board put thousands of lives at risk.
AMs called for the Welsh Government to use what went wrong at the Caldicot and Wentlooge Levels Internal Drainage Board as an example for other public bodies to guard against.
A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: “If we receive any new information about alleged criminality we will investigate.
“However based on the information received at the time, it was concluded that there were no criminal offences.”
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