A woman has been arrested and charged following a forensic investigation into an alleged embezzlement at one of the UK’s largest colleges.
Forensic investigators were called in to Glasgow College in summer 2019 to conduct an internal investigation after concerns over financial mismanagement were raised. The woman was suspended when suspicions first came to light, as is the norm in cases in which there are allegations of wrongdoing.
At the time, a report to the board’s audit committee stated that the principal had “reported to the committee on a matter which was currently under the subject of an internal investigation and forensic internal audit and which was also reported to the police”.
Disciplinary procedures often contain a provision enabling the employer to suspend an individual, with pay, while an investigation takes place into allegations of misconduct.
This is usually the result of suspicion or whistleblowing and it is easier and fairer to conduct an investigation when the person concerned is not present.
For one thing, it allows the investigator to see whether malpractice is still ongoing in the absence of the alleged culprit and if inappropriate transactions are continuing , then it is a good indicator that the person suspected may be innocent.
When the person under suspicion is away from the business, it is also easier to interview colleagues discreetly and ask questions about their colleague’s work patterns, such as whether he or she was suddenly spending more money than normal or exhibiting odd behaviour.
It is believed that an investigation where the alleged culprit is suspended is automatically the precursor of charges but actually, a forensic investigation is just as likely to indicate innocence as guilt.
Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “The college was quick to act in this case and its initial investigations appears to have led to an arrest and charge.
“More importantly by taking proactive steps to suspend the staff member, in order to conduct a more thorough investigation, it has been able to uncover evidence and potentially prevented further losses from accruing.”