Calls for government probe into college

Adam Smith College
Adam Smith College

A mum who was cleared of a £3 million fraud at a Kirkcaldy college has called for a government probe into what happened to be re-opened.

Leigh Berridge – who was director of Business Development at the former Adam Smith College – was accused, with her colleague Anna Milligan, of falsely acquiring £3.3m in EU money.

The 46-year-old from Cupar went through two years of criminal investigations before finally being told all charges against her were dropped last month.

The mum-of-two has now called for the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee to re-open a section 22 report into events which led to the prosecution.

Ms Berridge – who is also considering legal action – said the committee must clear her name.

She said: “I lost my job, a job that I loved and was very good at. This whole investigation started because of alleged institutional bullying and harassment.

“For Anna and I to have been accused of being part of a criminal conspiracy and be arrested in my own home has been hugely traumatic and detrimental to myself and my family.

“People still have questions about what went on. I still feel I need to clear both my name and that of my colleague. That is why I want the Audit Committee to look again at the Section 22 report. All details of precisely what happened and who is accountable must now come into the public domain.”

Four people – three women and one man – were originally investigated after the college imploded in 2013.

Only two were ever named and taken to court.

Charges against Anna Milligan, a business development manager at the college, were dropped in February.

While the Scottish Funding Council confirmed it would not be investigating matters further, it is possible the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee could schedule a hearing after it reconvenes in September.

A report was due to go before it, but it was delayed pending the outcome of any court proceedings. The Press understands there are no other live criminal matters connected to the case.

Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance said he remained “greatly concerned” no-one had been convicted in the case and was keen to see Parliament “finally get to the bottom of this” as it did with similar issues at Coatbridge College .

“There are still very serious questions about what took place, and while Ms Berridge has been cleared of all charges, I maintain a strong conviction that someone must be held accountable,” he commented.