Police will focus on 'personal financial transactions' of former manager says FACT board after computer with 20,000 emails seized
PUBLISHED: 18:30 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:30 27 March 2019
A police inquiry – named Operation Dearborn – is under way into Fenland transport provider FACT and will focus on its former manager Jo Philpott and not on the current organisation, it was revealed tonight.
I understand police have seized a computer from the FACT headquarters in March with over 20,000 emails stored on it datting back several years.
Gary Christy, appointed last year to be chairman of a newly reconstituted management board at FACT, said: “The investigation is in relation to personal financial transactions during the previous period of management.”
He issued a statement on behalf of the board of trustees of FACT and its associated organisations Huntingdonshire Association for Community Transport (HACT and Ely and Soham Association of Community Transport (ESACT).
“We are in contact with Cambridgeshire police regarding investigations in connection with an alleged fraud relating to a time period between 2012 and 2018,” he said.
“The investigation is in relation to personal financial transactions during the previous period of management.
“The organisation itself is not under investigation, and we are assisting police with their inquiries.”
He added: “The investigation is ongoing and we are unable to make any further comment at this time.
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Constabulary said: “On January 15 we received reports of alleged fraud concerning Fenland Association of Community Transport.
“The allegations relate to a time period between 2012 and 2018.
“The investigation is ongoing. No arrests have yet been made.
“Anyone with information concerning this investigation should call police on 101 quoting 35/3922/19.”
News of the police probe came as FACT revealed it is to abandon its commercial arm.
FACT is faced with repaying hundreds of thousands of pounds to the county council after wrongly using money from the not for profit organisation to subsidise its commercial arm,
Mr Christy announced the news to staff on Monday and told them he hoped to sell off those buses not needed for community transport to a commercial operator who he hoped would then re-employ them.
Mr Christy said: “There have been ongoing discussions regarding state aid grants that had been given to FACT, HACT & ESACT that we have been asked to pay back.
“Steps have been taken as far as possible to resolve these situations, but it has started to show that the commercial business overall is not as profitable as expected when first set up”.
He said that work is taking money, time and resources away from the not-for-profit services “and diverting these resources away from the community transport aims and objectives”.
Mr Christy said: “As a board we have had to take the decision that FACT, HACT and ESACT will cease to run licensed PSV operator services and will not be tendering for or renewing any commercial contracts in their current form.”