E&Y defends role.

Ernst & Young has defended its position as auditors to the Dome as police were called in to investigate allegations of fraud.

The New Millennium Experience Company, operator of the Dome, has passed details of the fraud to Scotland Yard’s fraud squad after contract procurement irregularities came to light earlier in the year.

An NMEC statement said: ‘The Dome’s rigorous internal control systems identified a possible irregularity relating to one contractor. The police have been kept informed since June.’

A leaked report from PricewaterhouseCoopers cast serious doubts over financial controls at the NMEC. The report revealed the Dome would technically have been insolvent without the new injection of cash, questioning the role of its directors.

E&Y sought to defend its role at the Dome, saying there was a ‘misconception of our role as external auditor, which is to provide an opinion on the truth and fairness of its historic accounts.’ The firm highlighted the last audit report for December 1999 which questioned the ability of the company to be able to continue its operations within the then currently agreed funding.

The National Audit Office is to publish a report at the end of October on the operation of the Dome. A spokesman for the NAO said the role of the external auditors would not form a major focus of the investigation.

The NMEC confirmed there were no plans for its FD Neil Spence to leave following the appointment of trouble-shooter David James.

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