District auditor clubbed by golf group.

KPMG has been prevented from formally signing off Oldham council’s #600m accounts by a group objecting to a golf course.

District auditor John Greenough, of the Big Five firm’s Manchester office, was called on by the objectors last year to investigate a 1993 council decision to set aside its own rules and agree to a golf course development.

That led to a first investigation by the district auditor, after the council only ratified its decision to deal with a single contractor on the golf course development five years after it took the decision.

The contractor, P & C Casey, was chosen without the council inviting bids from other companies, but councillors at the original meeting failed to suspend their own rules formally in order to do this.

Now Beal Valley Action Group members have raised formal complaints, which are preventing the district auditor from finally signing off the council’s 1997/1998 accounts.

Peter Fenton, treasurer and director of corporate services, said: ‘Objections don’t happen very often. It is very frustrating. But, aside from these objections, we have been given a clean bill of health by the district auditor.’

A KPMG spokesman said this week: ‘I can confirm an objection has been received and we are looking into it.’

Fenton said the district auditor had written to the group asking to see its counsel’s opinion, which it referred to in its objection.

‘To date, they have not come forward with this statement,’ Fenton said.

‘The objection is quite clearly a tactical weapon being used by people who want to frustrate the golf course proposals.’

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