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Councillor calls for group’ to look at ‘irregularities’ in grant payment’s to commercial property scheme

A group will be set up to explore launching a council prosecution in the case of grant payment irregularities in the Pembroke Dock commercial property scheme.

The long-running case resulted in a Crown Prosecution Services decision not to bring charges.

That decision was appealed in July but the CPS dismissed the appeal, partly because of ‘conflicting evidence’ in county council witness statements.

Cllr Mike Stoddart, who uncovered irregularities in payments to developer Cathal McCosker, who has since repaid a significant amount of the grant money provided, said the case was a “disgrace.”

At full council on Thursday (October 10) Cllr Stoddart said he was “astounded” at the reference to interviews with suspects indicating that council officers knew what was happening and that this could be a defence, according to the CPS.

“This is an establishment cover-up par excellence. On three occasions the police have managed to whitewash, cover it up, sweep it under the carpet, call it what you will.

“It’s an absolute disgrace and I’m determined to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

Cllr Stoddart’s call for the establishment of a seven-member politically balanced group, with powers to seek legal advice, be set up to explore the possibility of the council launching prosecution in respect of any irregular payments in the Pembroke and Pembroke Dock Commercial Property Grant Scheme was approved.

Cllr Paul Miller seconded the proposal, reiterating his view that a “more robust” process must be taken or “it was open for anyone to have a go.”

Only former Pembrokeshire County Council leader Jamie Adams voted against the proposal, with Cllrs John Davies, Brian Hall and David Pugh abstaining from the vote.

A report will be brought back to council in six months.


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