College fraud probe ends after two year investigation

No one is to face any criminal charges in connection with an alleged £3.3 million fraud at the former Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy.

Thursday, 14th July 2016, 9:21 am
Updated Thursday, 14th July 2016, 10:57 am
St Brycedale campus in Kirkcaldy pic: WALTER NEILSON
St Brycedale campus in Kirkcaldy pic: WALTER NEILSON

The Crown Office confirmed that the two-year investigation was over.

Four people – three women and one man – were originally investigated after the college imploded in 2013, sparking an investigation by the Scottish Funding Council.

Only two were ever named and taken to court.

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This week a spokesman from the Crown Office confirmed: “No individual gained financially from the scheme, and the investigation was complex, involving detailed scrutiny of the college’s finances and systems of management and administration.

“As further evidence came to light, it became clear that there was no longer sufficient evidence to continue criminal proceedings.”

The Press understands there are no other live criminal matters connected to the case.

Charges against Anna Milligan, one of the college’s business development managers, were dropped in February.

This week it was confirmed that a case against Leigh Berridge, the college’s former director of European funding, had also been dropped.

The 46-year-old from Cupar had been accused of inducing the Scottish Government to hand over the cash between 2008 and 2012.

In 2014 prosecutors originally considered whether to charge four people in connection with the case following a police investigation, but only two faced charges.

Although the Crown Office has now ended its role, the matter may not yet be fully resolved.

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.

David Torrance MSP for Kirkcaldy, believes there are still questions to be answered.

He said: “There remain very serious questions about the nature of what occurred at the Adam Smith College in this instance.

“I am dissatisfied that this situation has yet been fully resolved.”

He added: “There still appears to have been a deliberately fraudulent claim of £3.3 million of funding given in good faith by the Scottish Government and I maintain a strong conviction that someone must be held accountable regarding what seems to have been an extremely serious abuse.”

A spokesman from Fife College declined to comment on the developments.

She said: “We are unable to comment as this was a matter linked to the previous Adam Smith College, not Fife College.”

The Press was unable to contact Leigh Berridge or Anna Milligan for comment.