An IT boss at a Welsh council has been accused of playing "fast and loose" with public funds in a false accounting trial in which the prosecution allege he conspired with a local IT businessman to spend taxpayers' money on a private transaction.
Farooq Dastgir, a former IT boss at Blaenavon's Shared Resource Service (SRS) in south Wales, has been charged along with IT firm Camelot's owner Gary Inchliffe with false accounting and jointly conspiring to commit fraud.
Dastgir has also been accused of two accounts of misconduct in public office and an additional count of false accounting, according to local media outlet Free Press, which attended the trial at Cardiff Crown Court. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
Dastgir allegedly tried to use £10,000 of Torfaen's money to fund a supplement in the local South Wales Argus newspaper advertising the SRS' benefits when it had previously been decided the pull-out would be funded through private sponsorship.
The court heard Dastgir told the council's chief executive Alison Ward in an email that he had secured private sponsorship from IT firm Camelot – a local services outfit managed by Inchliffe.
The Free Press reports that the prosecution will seek to prove Dastgir and Inchliffe agreed that the latter would receive the £10,000 to fund the supplement from Torfaen Council's coffers through the creation of a fraudulent invoice for fictitious networking services Camelot provided to the SRS.
But the facility's assistant director looked into the supposed cabling job and found it had not been done, the court heard.
Susan Ferrier, prosecuting, said: "Clearly, Farooq Dastgir was prepared to play fast and loose with taxpayers' money, and this was not the only time the defendant had behaved dishonestly," according to the press report.
Dastgir is also alleged to have dipped into ring-fenced council funds to make up a budget deficit for the procurement of laptops and mobile phones for Monmouthshire county councillors.
The trial continues.
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