A Town Clerk Gone Wrong.
Observer, Rōrahi 9, Putanga 551, 20 Hōngongoi 1889, Page 14
A Town Clerk Gone Wrong.
ALLEGED EMBEZZLEMENT AND FORGEBY AT THAMES. HOW THE FRAUDS WERE DISCOVERED. (from our own correspondent.)
The financial affairs of the Borough Council are in such a state of muddle it would take a Philadelphia lawyer to tell how they stand at the present time. Mr P. Mclntyre, Government Audit Inspector, has been engaged day and night, however, making a careful examination of the vouchers and books, and the result haa been simply astounding. It is said that receipts innumerable have been forged, bogus pay-sheets made out and paid, accounts found receipted and money paid for works which have neither been authorised nor carried out, while such sums as £2, £3, and £4 have been carefully altered to £12, £13, and £14, and the additional " tenners " apparently pocketed by someone. It is publicly stated in the local papers that the defalcations in the' Borough Council and Harbour Board for the past 12 months alone will exceed £1,000. Whew I What an eye-opener ! No wonder that we are groaning under the heavy rates and charges imposed upon us by the Borough Council and Harbour Board, and that our streets and footpaths are in a wretched condition. The question is being asked on every hand, " How was it found out ?" Well, that's a profound secret, but there's no harm in readers of the Observer being let into it, and honour thus publicly given to whom honour is undoubtedly due. It would appear that Councillor McAndrew, who has been very appropriately termed the " Borough watch dog," has for a considerable time past been of opinion that there is a leak somewhere in the Borough ship ; but how to confirm his suspicions was another and much more difficult matter. It is said that he repeatedly wrote to the Auditor-General, and that the ultimate result was that Mr Patrick Mclntyre, who has proved himself to be a shrewd and thoroughly competent Audit-Inspector, was sent with special instructions in reference to the Borough. At first nothing could be found to justify the suspicions that had been entertained, but it was decided to rftsort to a little bit of strategy and obtain the key of the office some night, in order that Councillor McAndrew and Mr Mclntyre could examine the vouchers together, as the accounts tallied with the entries in the books. The key was procured, and in a short space of time Councillor McAndrew " spotted " some receipted vouchers which he was of opinion had never been passed by the Finance Committee, but which had been apparently certified to as being correct. The next step was to see the workman who was supposed to have done the work and received the money. After hunting for him for some time, he was at last found, and denied having drawn the money, while he was also positive that his signature had been forged. The Borough official, whose name was attached as having certified to the job having been executed, was subsequently interviewed, whe& he also firmly expressed his opinion that the signature was not his on some of the vouchers. The Crown Prosecutor of Auckland was consulted by Mr Molntyre, and informations laid against Mr F. C. Dean, Town Clerk, for embezzlement ; and in due course he was arrested and remanded until Monday. He was admitted to bail, himaelf in £200 and two sureties— Messrs Crick and Lindsay Jackson— of £100 each. In the meantime the accounts of the Borougn and Harbour Board were most searchingly investigated by Mr Mclntyre, in the presence of the Mayor, members of the Finance Committee, and the officials of both local bodies, and it was then ascertained how very heavy the defalcations were. Acting under instructions from the Crown Prosecutor, an information for forgery was laid against Mr Dean on Friday, but it soon transpired that he could not be found anywhere, and it is believed he has been "spirited' away to Auokland, from whence he will doubtless make his escape to a place of safety. The thanks of the whole community are certainly due to Or. McAndrew and Mr Mclntyre for the exceedingly clever manner in which they performed their unpleasant duty, and discovered the extensive defalcations and forgeries that had been committed. But will the culprit escape ? Time alone can tell.