Council blunder leaves repair man £20,000 richer

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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Kent County Council has mistakenly paid out £21,398  in allowances over a seven month period to a maintenance fitter with the same name as council leader Paul Carter.

The fitter has now left the country leaving the council unable to reclaim the cash.

The maintenance man worked at Aylesford Commercial Services Depot where he was credited the cash between September 2007 and March 2008.

The council told the BBC the mistake arose when a member of staff inadvertently entered a change of bank details from leader Paul Carter on to Commercial Services Paul Carter’s record.

It was discovered in April 2008 when the council leader’s secretary in his private office noticed that his overdraft was near its limit.

Council leader Carter said: “My secretary and my own office suggested to me that I needed to rein back on expenditure.

“Clearly, things weren’t quite right and I asked her to check that my allowance for being leader of Kent County Council had hit my personal bank account and it hadn’t.

“It was a payroll error within KCC. Clearly there was an employee of the authority by the name of Paul Carter and my allowance was mistakenly paid into the other Paul Carter’s account.”

The council said that as soon as the error was identified, it deducted £769 from maintenance man Paul Carter’s net monthly salary of £1,600, but was unable to recover the rest of the money because he resigned and left the country.

He is now believed to be in Eastern Europe.

The council said: “KCC always undertake to fully recover any overpayment made via the payroll regardless of whether the individual remains employed or not.

“In this case we followed our normal procedure and informed Debt Recovery to continue with the full recovery of the debt.

“Unfortunately Mr Carter left the country and we have been unable to trace him.

“We will still continue to re-establish full recovery of this debt if possible.”

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