PracticeAccounting FirmsDame Shirley deal inquiry is ‘doomed’

Dame Shirley deal inquiry is 'doomed'

The Westminster district auditor's inquiry into the £12.3m settlement reached with Dame Shirley Porter over the 'homes for votes' scandal is unlikely to bring about a change to the deal, the man responsible for instigating it has admitted.

Link: District auditor to look at Dame Shirley deal

Speaking to Accountancy Age, Paul Dimoldenburg, Westminster council’s Labour leader, said that it would be ‘difficult if not impossible to get a new agreement’.

Following Dimoldenburg’s objection to the council’s accounts for 2003/2004, and his request that the district auditor issue a public interest report under section 8 of the Audit Commission Act 1998, district auditor Derek Elliot is to mount an investigation into the deal.

Dimoldenburg’s principal objections to the settlement are that Dame Shirley’s assets are ‘worth considerably more than the £12.3m accepted by the council’ and that the ‘agreement has been shrouded in secrecy’.

Dimoldenburg wants to bring the settlement, which has been endorsed by the Audit Commission, into the public domain.

‘What has she and the council got to hide?’ he asked.

A spokesman for Westminster council confirmed that an objection to the 2003/2004 accounts had been made by a voter and that the district auditor was ?bound? to follow up on any objections.

The council and interested parties are expected to be able to make oral representations to Elliot in November.

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